Sainz left 'very disappointed' as technical problem causes huge spin and damages race chances
It was a case of what might have been for Carlos Sainz in Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying, with the Spaniard left unable to show what he was capable of after his McLaren dropped out of the session in spectacular circumstances.
Sainz was sitting a strong fifth on the timesheet in Q2 when his car developed an as-yet undiagnosed issue at the worst possible point – as he attempted to slow from 300kph for the tight Turn 1. With the rear axle of his MCL35 appearing to lock, Sainz was spun around before coming to a halt and bringing out the red flag.
In a season where he has already experienced his fair share of technical woe, the 26-year-old, who has just three races with McLaren remaining before joining Ferrari, was understandably glum about what had happened.
Asked if there was anything he could have done, he replied: “Nothing. You obviously get out there at 300kph and you hit the brakes and the rear brakes locked completely, I don’t know what happened.
“We don’t know exactly what’s the cause of the problem but very disappointed because I had just come through Q1 with only one set of tyres, I had just saved some softs for later in the quali and that set of mediums, it’s so important this weekend, it looks like it’s completely flat-spotted and I’m not going to be able to use [them].”
With McLaren fighting tooth and nail for P3 in the constructors’ championship with Renault and Racing Point, Sainz will now start P15 for the race – six places back from team mate Lando Norris who made it to Q3. And the Spaniard wasn’t feeling optimistic about his chances.
“Very disappointed, if there’s something that could not happen today it’s to destroy that set of mediums, because it’s going to cost us in the race," he said.
"Problem is, we’ve all been trying to save those harder tyres for the race and at the moment I qualified P15 and I don’t have any harder tyres. One of the harder tyres I had saved, so we’ll see, we can get it replaced or we can get it rebalanced, but if there was one weekend where this couldn’t happen it’s this one so I’m very disappointed.”
Sainz, who is currently P7 in the drivers' standings, one position and one point ahead of Norris, entered the race looking to reverse a terrible recent run in Bahrain, which includes five consectuive pointless races in Sakhir.