‘About time’ Sainz showed his full Ferrari potential

Date published: June 19 2021 - Henry Valantine

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Carlos Sainz has said he feels pleased to have shown his full potential in qualifying in a Ferrari, saying it’s “about time” that it happened.

The Spaniard qualified an impressive P5 for the French Grand Prix having shown strong pace throughout all three practice sessions, translating that into a strong Saturday performance.

Ferrari admitted that it would be a case of being “back to reality” after two pole positions from Charles Leclerc in Monaco and Baku respectively, but Sainz still showed a turn of speed to earn a top-five grid slot at Paul Ricard.

Ferrari’s newest driver spoke of his annoyance at having obstacles in previous weekends that prevented him pushing to the limit, but he said he is feeling good behind the wheel.

“This weekend so far I’ve been feeling comfortable on every [tyre] compound and every stage through qualifying, I’ve been feeling at home,” Sainz told Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.

“In these last three weekends – Monaco, Baku and here – I’ve been feeling strong. This is the first clean qualy I’ve done in the three weekends, where I felt like I managed to show my true potential and the potential of the car.

“After two frustrating qualies, to get one clean one just nailing the laps through qualifying was definitely good, and I think it was about time because I was starting to get a bit frustrated.”

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari

Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari merchandise is available via the official Formula 1 store

Ferrari team-mate Leclerc, meanwhile, was out-qualified by Sainz for only the second time this season and will start the race in P7. Despite Sainz having a stronger performance on Saturday, Leclerc admitted he was pleased with where he was able to place his car heading into the French Grand Prix.

“Yes, honestly at the end of the lap in Q3 I was quite happy, even if I saw the position, because I know I put everything I had in that lap,” Leclerc told Sky Italia.

“But I really struggled to drive with this understeer we had and Carlos [Sainz] did a great job, driving much better than me in those conditions.

“So, yes, in the end it’s not a negative day for the team because fifth and seventh is not really bad because we’re in the fight with the ones we’re really fighting against, so with McLaren. But for sure after yesterday I expected more from today.

“Let’s hope to gain positions and finish with Carlos [Sainz] and me together. The first run in my opinion will be a bit difficult tomorrow because the tyres didn’t look really well after the run in Q2. But then there are no reasons for us to struggle more.”

Additional reporting by Luca Brambilla

Follow all the action from the French Grand Prix with the PlanetF1 live centre