Carlos Sainz reckons Ferrari will need to iron out pit stop issues as they have lost crucial points to McLaren in their 2021 F1 season battle.

Not for the first time or second time but the third time, Ferrari had issues at their pit stop with Sainz. The Spaniard had his latest trouble in US GP when he pitted on Lap 30 and endured a slow stop, which eventually cost him places and points.

For the battle between two of the most famous outfits ever in F1 – McLaren and Ferrari – for third in the championship, every point is vital. But pit stops this year are costing the Maranello concern some vital points in the title race. They are three and a half points behind McLaren and it’s tight.

“We know something was wrong on the rear right side,” said Mattia Binotto. “We had some difficulties to remove the tyres from the car. We need to work out what happened.” It is all what the Italian outfit’s chief could say after the grand prix.

Either Binotto is very frustrated and is not giving anything away or genuinely does not know. Deep down he must also be thinking of the gap to McLaren and that had the pit stops gone correctly, then they would be third right now. They seemingly have a faster car now, especially after the recent engine update.

In a competition of small measures, pit stop has been an integral part of F1 for so long now, Ferrari should not have got it wrong. Sainz lost out last weekend, especially to Daniel Ricciardo and eventually to Valtteri Bottas too – dropping crucial points.

“About the pit stop, well, unfortunate again,” said Sainz to written media. “We need to keep looking at it and we need to keep improving as a team, because we are not happy with the situation. It has been a few pit stops now that we have been struggling with. From my side, I think it’s the second consecutive and the third all season, so it’s quite a lot of points there we are leaving on the table due to these small problems.

“I think I would have been fairly easy with the undercut there on Ricciardo, but it is what it is. We need to keep working as a team to improve it. We need to keep improving a bit. There are points there that maybe this year are not so important, but if we want to be fighting for championships in the future, these are the kind of things that we need to become excellent at, and that we are maybe still lacking a bit,” summed up Sainz.

The points may not be important this year in terms of title fight, but there is still a battle for third with five grands prix to go, Sainz is thinking ahead which is good but for this season, Ferrari need to get the stops right first time in Mexico, Brazil, Qatar, Saudi and Abu Dhabi. They can look back at the seasons end with joy or regret, depending on whether they finish but if they lose by small bit then pit stops will play in their minds.

The story was written by Neil Farrell

Here’s Carlos Sainz on damage leading to Valtteri Bottas pass

Here’s Carlos Sainz on fighting Lando Norris, Daniel Ricciardo on Lap 1

Here’s Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz on dirty racing