Saudi Arabian GP | P4 on the grid for Carlos Sainz, after a costly sector 1 messed up his quali

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Only second row for Carlos Sainz on the starting grid of tomorrow’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, where he will be standing alongside George Russell who put his Mercedes up in P4.

1’28”931 to complete his quickest lap that was worth a P5 on the timesheet, but that will translate in a P4 start, as his teammate Charles Leclerc drops back to 12th place to serve a ten-place grid penalty.

The Spaniard encountered quite a bit of struggles around the Jeddah Corniche track this Saturday evening: it all started from a “strange” sensation he felt while running his SF-23 in Q1.

“Not the best of qualifyings from my side to be honest,” he said at the end of qualifying.

“I was struggling a lot, mainly sector one I had a bit of a strange feeling with the tyres, with the car, I just couldn’t put that sector one where I wanted.”

“The rest of the lap felt good, but it wasn’t enough to make up for sector 1,” explained Sainz.

As the second part of qualifying approached things didn’t look much better: after having a first run on used Softs, he was forced to use a brand new set of Soft tyres to go for a second try and make the cut to progress onto Q3.

A necessary, but costly move that left him with a single set of soft compounds for the closing stage of quali.

“It meant I lost a lot of confidence in Q2 having to use another set of tyres and leaving myself exposed for Q3, which wasn’t ideal,” he said.

“Clearly I didn’t have my best day, but tomorrow’s race day and tomorrow is where points count.”

A quite unexpected struggle, as Sainz had come into the day hopeful to be up and running towards the pole position, expectations that left him rather disappointed.

“I was expecting myself to be in the fight and for one reason or another that I still need to analyse, I wasn’t.”

“So, a disappointing day but still, tomorrow is the day,” he concluded.