F1: Sainz Jr. ‘almost there’ with Ferrari contract extension

(GMM) Carlos Sainz will be staying at Ferrari beyond the end of his current contract this year.

That is the news straight from the mouth of team boss Mattia Binotto, after the Spaniard finished second behind Bahrain GP winner and teammate Charles Leclerc.

Sainz, 27, was actually disappointed with his pace relative to Leclerc at the 2022 season opener.

Podium 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday, L to R: Sainz Jr., Leclerc and Hamilton – LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

“For me, it’s been a very tricky weekend – I’m not going to lie,” Sainz said on Sunday.

“I was never that far away from Charles in 2021. But if every bad weekend ends with second place, I can accept that.”

However, it was enough for Binotto to conclude that Ferrari has arguably the best, most balanced and complete driver lineup on the 2022 grid.

“We have agreed. The only thing left is to transfer this agreement that we have made to paper,” the Italian said.

Sainz agreed: “I think we are close. Very close. Very, very close,” he smiled.

“Extremely close. We’re almost there.”

Leclerc, who has already pledged his future to Ferrari, chimed in: “Shall we make the announcement then?”

Binotto said the actual announcement is just a “matter of time”, with former Ferrari driver Jean Alesi agreeing that the Maranello team is placing a safe bet for the future.

“Sainz did a Sainz – a bit of trouble in practice but then working, working, putting together one piece at a time until he is close,” the Frenchman told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Leclerc is very fast on a lap and Sainz is meticulous in preparing for the race,” Alesi added.

“Carlos and Charles deserve a 10 because they work well together as a team and that’s what a team like Ferrari needs when it is rebuilding.”


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