Ferrari star is surprised after qualifying

Carlos Sainz is surprised that he wasn’t able to improve his time again in Q3. As in the previous section, the Ferrari driver drove a time of 1:29.5 minutes and thus came fourth in qualifying for the Formula 1 race in Bahrain 2024 – two places behind his teammate Charles Leclerc.

He had achieved the session’s best time in Q1 and reached third place in Q2, but when it came down to it, things didn’t go quite as well. “We were very strong from the start in Q1 and very, very good over one lap,” he says.

In Q2 he then put in a conservative lap to save the tires a little for the race. “I thought I had two or three tenths left in Q3, but for some reason they never came,” said the Spaniard. “I more or less achieved my lap times from Q1.”

“It shows that we may need to look at something in Q3 because we haven’t made the progress we normally make.”

But Sainz was not alone: ​​teammate Charles Leclerc was even three and a half tenths of a second slower in Q3 than before, and Lewis Hamilton was also unable to improve his Q2 time.

“Maybe that’s because qualifying starts a little later,” says Sainz, puzzling over the lack of track development. “At 7 the track is already cold, as if it cools down a little from 6. Maybe that has an effect, just like the wind that these cars are vulnerable to. That creates different conditions and prevents you from improving can.”

But: Other drivers managed to improve towards Q3. Max Verstappen found another two tenths of a second, his teammate Sergio Perez even found four, just like George Russell.

Formula 1: Sainz basically satisfied

In general, Sainz is very happy with the car and with the progress Ferrari has made. “We have a better foundation and a better understanding,” he praises. “Now we’re ready to hopefully fight for better things this year.”

In Bahrain that should at least be a podium if Ferrari manages a perfect race. “But at the same time we are starting from the bad side, and Checo is starting with a new soft that brings two to three seconds of racing time,” said the Spaniard. “He will therefore be difficult to defeat.”

In general, Sainz sees Red Bull as favorites again when it comes to the race. “Then they suddenly turn up the heat and there they have tire degradation again and a racing pace that no one else can have,” he says.

To achieve this, Mercedes, McLaren and Aston Martin should be on an equal footing, he believes. “Last year we would have taken a step back in the race. Hopefully that won’t be the case this year.”