Carlos Sainz revealed he had been struggling with the revamped Turn 10 as he qualified sixth for his home race, the Spanish Grand Prix.
Driving a Ferrari for the first time at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the 26-year-old put up a creditable qualifying performance to be only 0.110sec and two positions behind his team-mate, Charles Leclerc.
But while the top three were well out of reach, with Valtteri Bottas a sizeable 0.637sec ahead of Leclerc, Sainz felt he could have been best of the rest without a couple of errors – including one at a part of the track that has been redesigned since the 2020 race last August.
“I didn’t make a perfect lap in Q3, this is sure,” Sainz told Sky Italy.
“We had two sets of tyres to try to go faster and with the first set it was a really good lap until the chicane, where I made a mistake for a couple of tenths.
“And with the second set also, it was quite a good lap until Turn 7 and Turn 10 where I lost quite a lot of time. So we have a couple things to analyse there.
“But I’ve been struggling since the beginning of the weekend at Turn 10 – I don’t feel the front of the car really well and I lose a lot of time in that corner.
“But in general I’ve been strong. I had a Q1 and a Q2 that were really good and I’m really close.”
P4 and P6 for tomorrow’s #SpanishGP 🙌
— Scuderia Ferrari (@ScuderiaFerrari) May 8, 2021
Leclerc also had a minor issue at the same left-hand corner, which comes at the end of the secondary straight, but the fact he has only the two Mercedes and Max Verstappen ahead of him on the grid indicates he could not realistically have done a better job in qualifying.
“Unfortunately for us there was nothing else to do, the third place was unreachable and so we made P4, I’m happy with that,” said the Monegasque driver.
“On my last lap I struggled a bit in the third sector – if you look at Turn 10, I made a small mistake. But apart from that, it was a good lap.
“It was a difficult session because in Q1 and Q2 I tried as best as possible to do a clean lap to have then the best possible set at the end of Q2, which is good for the beginning of the race.
“And then in Q3 when I pushed, the car was good, the pace was good, and I’m happy to start fourth.”