Ferrari blames altitude for loss of performance
Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz blamed Mexico’s high altitude for their lack of speed and competitive performance in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
Sainz finished fifth and Leclerc sixth, their worst two-car result this year, as they were well beaten by Red Bull and Mercedes with world champion Max Verstappen winning ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez.
George Russell was fourth in the second Mercedes ahead of Sainz, who came home 58 seconds from Verstappen’s victory.
“Going into the weekend with this car, at this altitude, we knew we were going to lose quite a bit of performance,” said Sainz, acknowledging that the team’s aerodynamic and engine performance had suffered.
Mexico City is over 2,000 meters above sea level and the thin atmosphere has an effect on turbos, cooling systems and brakes, while providing less air resistance.
Like many teams, they have had to lower their engines to preserve them and ensure reliability, but they hope to be back to full power in Sao Paulo next month.
“Today I felt like an explanation was that it was a bit unique here in the different conditions and hopefully we can get back to our usual performance in Brazil,” Leclerc said.
“I felt like we were maximizing absolutely everything and even though we did, we’re still one minute away from Max which is a huge difference.
“So we have to look to improve our bad days because when we have a bad day, especially on a Sunday, it’s a really bad day.”
After forced retirements in Japan and the United States, Sainz was at least happy to finish the race.
“We were a minute away, but I haven’t finished a race in a month, so it was good to do that,” he said.