‘The car surprised me’ says Sainz, as he reflects on costly Imola qualifying crash
With a freshly-inked Ferrari contract in his pocket, Carlos Sainz may have dreamed of taking his first-ever F1 pole position in front of the tifosi on Friday of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix weekend. But that dream turned to dust as the Spaniard crashed out of Q2 at Imola.
With Sainz having announced a two-year contract extension with Ferrari on Thursday, he was looking in good form as he headed out on track for qualifying, going third in the Q1 segment. But having been instructed by his engineer to set a quick banker lap in Q2 before the rain came, Sainz duly obliged – only to then spin into the barrier at Rivazza 2 on his second push lap.
“Very frustrating,” said Sainz, who felt he missed out on a chance for pole in Australia too, after an electrical gremlin interrupted his run plan and left him P9 on the grid. “The target was to put a banker lap in knowing that the rain was going to come, and honestly I knew I was P1, P2 the whole session and I wasn’t pushing really that hard at all, but the car surprised me in that corner.
“Maybe it was starting to rain, maybe it was tyres too hot after doing two consecutive push laps. I don’t know, I need to understand it because it’s not a mistake that… I don’t think I was exposing myself to a mistake pushing like that,” added Sainz.
“It was not a lap that was properly on the limit at all, it was a lap that was okay just to put a banker in without putting it on the limit, and unfortunately I lost it, the car, for some reason. I didn’t have any warning that I was going to lose it and it just went. Tricky conditions for sure but not ideal.”
Sainz’s Melbourne qualifying frustrations were followed by the Spaniard crashing out after less than two laps of the race. And Sainz was trying to look on the bright side, as he seeks to make amends for his Australian Grand Prix mistake in Saturday’s Sprint, and Sunday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“At least thinking positively, I will have Sprint quali and the race to recover,” said Sainz. “As a target, [I want] to move forward, try and rescue some solid points. The weekend is not over yet, it’s only Friday so there’s plenty of time. But obviously it hurts because it should have been an easy through to Q3 and in the wet, you never know what can happen.”
Adding to Sainz’s pain, team mate Charles Leclerc took P2 on the grid behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen – with Sainz set to start the Sprint P10, his Q2 lap having at least been good enough to get him through to Q3.
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