RACE DEBRIEF

    Carlos Sainz was left fuming with his P9 finish in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, a session that the Ferrari driver wrote off as “horrible” on Saturday in Melbourne, as he ended up 1.5s off the pace of his pole-sitting team mate Charles Leclerc.

    The Spaniard explained that he was in the mix to qualify at the top but a red flag, caused by Fernando Alonso’s crash, meant his first flying lap was deleted. Then a number of problems compromised his efforts to prepare for another qualifying effort at the end of Q3.

    READ MORE: Leclerc holds off Red Bull charge to take pole in action-packed Australian Grand Prix qualifying

    “The lap at the end, we had a problem with the starter, we couldn’t start the car – we had to go out three minutes later to when we were planning to go out. I couldn’t prepare the tyre, I couldn’t warm up the tyre.

    “Everything was rushed, and I had to do the lap on freezing tyres, and it was a horrible lap for us. Incredibly unlucky; everything that could have gone wrong in Q3 went wrong, especially because I was in the fight for pole position the whole quali.”

    Carlos Sainz blames 'horrible Q3' for P9 qualifying performance

    Sainz ended up ninth as a result of his woes – 1.5s off pole-sitting team mate Leclerc – as his wait for a maiden career pole position continues.

    The Bahrain and Saudi Arabian GP podium finisher admitted he was “angry” after qualifying and Team Principal Mattia Binotto offered words of support to quell the pain after Q3.

    MUST-SEE: Leclerc relieved to take pole on track where 'I’ve always struggled'

    “He knows I am angry because we shouldn’t have these problems with the starter and it was just a disaster – and [Mattia] knows today I was in the fight for pole, and everything that could have gone wrong for me went wrong.

    “So, I am not going to be happy at all, even if anyone tells me to be happy, but tomorrow is another day and we will try and come back.”

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    Sainz finished ahead of only Alonso, who crashed out, in Q3

    The solution?

    “A good night sleep and that’s it,” said Sainz. “I need to sleep. Until when I go to sleep, I will be angry.”

    As for his podium hopes on Sunday, Sainz was realistic with his expectations – although Red Bull's Sergio Perez is in danger of receiving a grid penalty after stewards investigated him for not slowing for yellow flags in Q1.

    “I think we are going to try and recover as much as possible, but we are also honest with ourselves that without the fourth DRS zone, the circuit hasn’t changed that much, and it will be tricky to overtake – but I will give it our best shot,” said Sainz.

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