Sainz: Imola Q2 exit "exposed" lack of Ferrari F1 mileage

Carlos Sainz Jr was left disappointed by his Q2 exit in Formula 1 qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, saying the result “exposed” his lack of mileage with Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Sainz narrowly missed out on a top-10 qualifying result after a close-fought qualifying at Imola on Saturday, finishing 11th for Ferrari.

The Spaniard was left disappointed after finishing six-hundredths off a place in Q3, albeit lapping less than half a second off the overall fastest time in the session.

Sainz called it a “bad day in the office”, but felt it showed that he still needs more time to get fully up to speed with Ferrari after just one-and-a-half days of testing and one grand prix weekend in the SF21 car.

“I honestly felt quick all weekend but always felt like I couldn't put the lap together, and qualifying exposed it,” Sainz said.

“I was just a bit all over the place, never really managing the put corners together doing the whole lap. Even though I felt quick in the corners that I managed to nail, I just couldn't put it together.

“So I’m disappointed, because I know a lap time was there if I do a good job. I know I could have gone through [to] Q3.

“But at the same time, I think this track has exposed us a bit in terms of that I still lack a bit of mileage, a bit of understanding from the car to exactly know what to expect and to know how to extract the absolute limit of it.”

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Sainz felt he could have gained a couple of tenths on his final Q2 lap that would have comfortably seen him progress to the final stage of qualifying, proving how close the field is in F1 this year.

“It's tight out there, and every single tenth counts,” Sainz said.

“But I know today I left two- or three-tenths on the table, just by my own means and my own brake balance issues, not managing to put together the balance that I wanted through every corner.

“But at the same time, it's early in the season. I've done very little laps with this car, and I still need to learn. I'm going through a learning curve right now, and I will try and improve.”

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While Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc was able to qualify fourth, Sainz will have to claw his way back into the points on Sunday.

But he was upbeat about his chances, having better faith in his race pace than over one lap.

“I'm always a bit of a Sunday driver,” Sainz said.

“I always like doing a better job on Sunday. I'm quite confident in that regard and I am sure I can move forward tomorrow.”

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