Monday, April 15, 2024

Sainz ‘Left Nothing on the Table’ On Way to Spanish Grand Prix Front Row

Carlos Sainz Jr. will start on the front row for his home Grand Prix on Sunday after putting in an excellent final Qualifying lap at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Saturday.

The Scuderia Ferrari driver felt he extracted everything he could from his SF-23 in the top ten shootout, although it was not enough to get close to taking pole position away from Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.

“I’m happy with my qualifying today,” said Sainz. “The conditions were not at all easy out there, but we managed to put together some good laps and I think we extracted everything from the car.

“I left nothing on the table this afternoon.”

Looking forward to the race on Sunday, Sainz says it is now important for Ferrari to ‘execute the best race possible’ and close out the weekend with a trip to the podium.

“However, the weekend is not done and now we need to execute the best race possible,” said Sainz.  “The time gaps have all been very tight the entire weekend and it won’t be an easy one but we will go for it.

“I want to thank all the amazing support from the grandstands! It really makes a difference and I hope we can put on a good show tomorrow.”

“The car was extremely oversteery and unpredictable” – Charles Leclerc

Team-mate Charles Leclerc, who took pole position in Spain just twelve months ago, had a nightmare Saturday as he found himself eliminated in Q1, and will start down on the back row of the grid.

Leclerc was struggling with his SF-23 throughout the session, the Monegasque complaining about the grip levels, especially at the right rear corner.  Initially he believed it was the tyre set he was using causing the issue, but switching to another set highlighted the fact it was car-related instead.

“We will have to check the car and look at the data as there was clearly something really odd about the way it behaved and it felt very different to the way it had throughout the weekend up to that point,” said Leclerc.

“I basically had zero rear grip. The car was extremely oversteery and unpredictable. The car would be okay and suddenly it would snap away. It was something to do with the rear right corner.

“At first I thought it was something to do with my first set of tyres, so we changed for a new set, but there was still this very strange behaviour from the rear tyres.”

Leclerc hopes the car is fixed ahead of race day, but he knows it will be a difficult day starting from nineteenth on the grid.

“It’s obviously very disappointing but it will be a long race tomorrow, overtaking is possible and degradation is a big factor so we will see, but of course we will be starting from very far back,” Leclerc added.

Charles Leclerc was surprisingly eliminated in Q1 in Spain – Credit: Scuderia Ferrari Press Office