Sainz: Lap for P3 was “not too bad” amid “very weird” conditions in Miami F1 GP qualifying

Photo Credits: Scuderia Ferrari
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In a similar tone to several drivers on the grid, Carlos Sainz felt the Miami Autodrome was offering some “very weird” conditions during the qualifying hour, with the tyre temperatures and wind direction and speed making it a “very challenging” proposition.

Winner in Australia back in early April, Sainz’s form took a bit of a dip in China and the Sprint race in Miami, but the Spaniard was much happier during qualifying for the main race, qualifying in P3, less than eight hundredths behind team-mate Charles Leclerc, and just over two tenths back from pole-sitter Max Verstappen.

Speaking after the session, the three-time grand prix winner said he already expected the strong performance was possible since the Sprint race, and explained how the main challenge – not only for him but for all the drivers – was to just put their laps together in “tricky” conditions:

“It was a bit of shame I couldn’t get past Daniel [Ricciardo, in the Sprint], but I knew that the pace was there,” he said. “I knew that in [qualifying] I could be in the top 3, and we managed to do some clean laps.

“It’s really tricky around here with a new soft [tyre], every lap it’s a bit of an adventure. With the wind, you don’t know what’s gonna happen, and keeping all this in mind, the laps were not too bad.

“It’s very challenging, as I said,” he explained to Sky Sports. “I don’t know if it’s the wind, the tyres, the tarmac itself, [but] it’s just extremely difficult to put a lap together.

“Every time you finish a lap you are like ‘I could’ve gone two or three tenths quicker’. But then you try the next lap and you go two or three tenths slower instead. So it’s very weird, but it’s the same for everyone, everyone’s complaining about the same things, so it’s a matter of just trying to put your best effort together.”

The Ferrari driver went as far as saying it was nearly “impossible” to put a perfect lap in during Q3, but the ever-changing conditions made it difficult to string the runs together. However, Sainz is optimistic that starting from P3 and on the clean side of the grid might give him an advantage off the line compared to those around him:

“You always finish the lap and you feel like you could’ve gone so much faster had it been a clean lap, but it’s almost impossible to put a perfect clean lap in here,” he explained. “There’s always one place where you slide, one place where you overheat the tyres, one place where the wind hits you differently and you start struggling.

“It’s a very tricky balance in a very tricky track to drive.

 “But P3 and the clean side of the road tomorrow might be a good place to start.”