Carlos Sainz was disappointed he could not replicate his Q2 time in the decisive session of British Grand Prix qualifying.
If the Ferrari driver had matched his earlier 1min 26.848sec in Q3 he would have been sixth on the grid for the debut of sprint qualifying at Silverstone, rather than ninth.
But the fact he went 0.159sec slower means Sainz will have more work to do over the course of the newly-trialled 17-lap ‘race’ in order to secure the best possible grid position for Sunday’s main event.
Asked by Formula 1 if he had got everything out of the car, the Spaniard replied: “No, unfortunately not today. I had a good feeling with the car in Q2, managed to do a 1:26.8 which would have been good enough in Q3 for top six.
“But for some reason in Q3 the track temperature dropped, the wind picked up a bit and I couldn’t find the lap time I had in Q2.
“So something to analyse, a couple of little moments here and there through the lap just with a bit less grip than I expected.”
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🇬🇧 P9 for the Sprint Qualifying. I am not satisfied today, because my Q2 lap time would have been enough for a better result. That tenth is very costly as it was extremely tight. The weekend is only getting started. Full focus.
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) July 16, 2021
Understandably, being five positions behind his team-mate Charles Leclerc for sprint qualifying, Sainz said his policy will be to attack rather than merely keep out of trouble.
“I think we have a good opportunity to push,” he said. “I think we need to have a look at what we can do to recover some positions because I felt like the car today could have been top six at least, so we will need to find a way through.”
Leclerc was naturally happier at having outqualified one of the Red Bulls, that of Sergio Perez, on a day that featured only one practice session.
“Very happy, it was a tricky qualifying,” said the Monegasque driver. “Obviously with so little preparation going into qualy it makes things a little bit trickier.
“I was quite confident especially in Q1, then in Q2 I wasn’t at the level I wanted to be and in Q3 I regained the confidence and the pace a little bit in the car, so happy with how it went.
“I think we did a good job, we maximised the potential of the car and it’s an exciting weekend.
“I don’t really know how to go into the sprint race and we will just try to do the best job possible.
“We are all going into an unknown, we’ve got FP2 to try and prepare the sprint race as well as we can, and then let’s see what we can do.”