RACE DEBRIEF

    Carlos Sainz held a big slide in the final corner in his pursuit of pole for the Canadian Grand Prix – but while he missed out and will start third, he still believes he can take the fight to Max Verstappen for victory.

    The Spaniard’s team mate Charles Leclerc will line up 19th after taking a suite of new engine components that have triggered hefty grid penalties, and that means Sainz carries Ferrari’s main hope of victory.

    READ MORE: Verstappen braves wet conditions to claim Canadian GP pole ahead of sensational Alonso

    His initial target will be to get ahead of countryman and friend Fernando Alonso, who starts a superb second after mastering the wet conditions – with Sainz at risk of Verstappen racing off into the distance if he can't manage it.

    “It will be important [to pass Alonso] so we can get behind Max as soon as possible,” he said. “And from there try and push Red Bull into a strategy or into something different. I think we have a good chance – we just need to make sure we get behind them as soon as possible, and if not, pass them at the start.”

    Sainz looked like he had the pace for the front row – but admitted he pushed too hard in the final sector.

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    Leclerc went for a fun run in the wet conditions

    “It was a moment,” he said. “Trying to get back that last tenth or two that Max had advantage on us during the whole day. I really wanted to get it but in the end it cost me probably more than what I was going for. But it is how it is.

    “I did a very good sector one, then in sector two I started to feel the lap going away from me, and into sector three I decided to push really hard the last corner to see if I could get pole, but it ended up costing me more than half a second.”

    Leclerc, meanwhile, called it a day after Q1, despite progressing to the next session, as he knew that he was destined to start at the back anyway because of the penalties.

    READ MORE: Leclerc to join Tsunoda at back of Montreal grid after raft of power unit changes

    “It was nice to do some push laps in the wet, obviously without taking too much risk because I could not damage the car for tomorrow,” he said. “But overall, it’s been okay, and the feeling was good so it’s always nice.”

    ‘I hope we can make it through the field’ – Leclerc braced for back row start in Canadian Grand Prix

    The Ferrari is well-matched to Red Bull’s race pace according to our Friday data, thus giving Leclerc hope that he can make progress back into the points and limit the damage in the drivers’ standings.

    “I have to say that the overtaking was a bit more difficult than what I expected yesterday,” he said. “I hope we can make it through the field as quickly as possible and then the pace should give us a good chance to come back at least.”