RACE DEBRIEF

    After a shaky start, Carlos Sainz’s maiden McLaren season has gone from strength to strength in recent races – and things were looking particularly rosy for the Spaniard ahead of qualifying for the Canadian Grand Prix, as he finished Free Practice 2 in a sensational fourth place.

    Sainz’s best time from Friday afternoon was just 0.376s adrift of Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc’s pace at the head of the field, while his closest ‘non top-three’ rival, Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, was nearly four-tenths further back. And while Sainz doubted that he’d find himself in fourth come the end of qualifying on Saturday – with Red Bull particularly having had a disrupted FP2 that saw Pierre Gasly and Max Verstappen end up 12th and 13th – he could at least reflect with satisfaction on a strong Friday.

    READ MORE: Leclerc leads Ferrari 1-2 in FP2 as Hamilton hits the wall

    “Obviously pretty happy with the day,” he said. “I think we’ve probably had one of the best Fridays of the season. But still, I don’t believe a bit that we are fourth fastest, I think we are definitely behind the top teams. I guess I was getting comfortable with the car, but tomorrow we will be getting a bit back to reality.”

    2019 Canadian GP

    The car’s quick enough to do what Carlos did – I’m just not driving well

    Lando Norris

    Less happy was his McLaren team mate Lando Norris, who chastised himself for poor driving despite ending up 11th in both of Friday’s sessions, and just 0.078s off making the top 10 in FP2.

    “There’s potential in the car,” said Norris. “The car’s quick enough to do what Carlos did – Carlos did a good lap. I’m just not driving well, that’s it, and I need to do a better job, especially when it gets to qualifying I guess. But even when I felt like I did a pretty horrific job, I was still almost in the top 10.

    “But yeah, there’s potential – I just need to extract more of it.”

    Sainz heads into the Canadian Grand Prix weekend looking to secure his fourth straight points-finish of the season - having non-scored at the opening three races of the year – after finishing an impressive P6 last time out at Monaco. Norris, meanwhile, is looking to score for the first time since Azerbaijan back in April.