Sainz has generally been a good starter throughout his F1 career to date, but lost positions to Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez in the first round in Barcelona, dropping from sixth to eighth.
The 26-year-old couldn’t get past the drivers and got stuck in the midfield brawl as his Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc cleared after starting fourth, eventually finishing 20 seconds on the checkered flag road.
Sainz lost positions on the line in his Bahrain debut before winning at Imola and Portimao, giving him an average of zero spots caught in the first round of races so far this year.
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
The Spaniard explained that he was aware of his difficulties at the start and was already discussing them with Ferrari in a bid to gain confidence and better understand after his winter stint at McLaren.
“I was just doing a little analysis with my engineers 10 minutes ago, trying to figure out what I could have done better,” Sainz said after the race in Spain.
“What is clear is that I still have to improve a bit and be a little more confident with the starting system and the way we operate to get that perfect launch and the perfect first 100 meters.
“Although today I don’t think that’s the main limitation, the main limitation of this one was positioning, getting in and out of the wake and then being locked behind. [Esteban] Ocon entered Turn 1 and lost a lot of positions to the cars on the outside.
“It’s a combination of factors to get that perfect result like Charles did. First of all, we have to organize the weekend completely, and it is a good qualification to have a good lap in Q3 to start again further. Then that wouldn’t have been a problem and then make the start.
“That’s what I’ve been particularly good at at McLaren, running all weekend, and that’s what I need to keep improving as the races continue with this team, to continue to perform at the highest possible level.
Sainz sits eighth in the F1 Drivers’ Championship after four races this year with half of Leclerc’s points total, recording a better end of fifth in Portugal.