Sainz: McLaren could "suffer" in wet Belgian GP with low downforce set-up

Carlos Sainz Jr says that his McLaren Formula 1 team could "suffer" if the Belgian GP is wet after it opted to run an ultra low downforce set-up

Sainz: McLaren could "suffer" in wet Belgian GP with low downforce set-up

With rain forecast for the race, some teams decided prior to qualifying to take a step back from the trimmed out levels they ran earlier in the weekend to give their drivers have more grip for a wet race.

Sainz told Sky Sports F1 that the team had tried a high downforce set-up earlier in the weekend, but discovered "it was not working, we were just too draggy".

Running in low downforce configuration, Sainz qualified seventh while Lando Norris managed tenth.

"We elected to run super low downforce, which means if the rain comes, we might suffer a bit," Sainz said.

"Normally on Saturday if I see there's any rain risk, I would actually sing and try and make the rain come because as you know, I like the rain.

"For a midfield car it's always nice to have rain, because it means maybe there's opportunities for a bit more than P6 or P5.

"I'm always looking forward to the rain, but maybe [if] there's one race that would not suit us very much, it's here in Spa because of the little wing that we are running.

"We could find ourselves a bit in trouble if it suddenly rains, so let's see."

Both McLaren-Renaults were outqualified by the works Renaults of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, but Sainz said that seventh was the best McLaren could achieve in qualifying, and was "surprised" to be ahead of the Racing Point cars.

"I think we're in a very strong position, definitely the strongest that we can be," he said.

"All the cars that we have in front I think are quicker both in race pace and in quali.

"I think the Renaults have been three-tenths ahead all weekend, they look to be very competitive, same as last year in Monza, so [it's] difficult for us to beat them.

"Surprised to qualify ahead of the Racing Points, I'm pretty sure they will put on a very big fight tomorrow.

"But at least we are there in the middle of the pack, we can play a bit around with strategy.

"I think it's lower [tyre] deg than what we expected coming into weekend, but it's also much, much cooler than last year."

Asked about the car's speed through the Pouhon left-hander, Sainz explained that he "could have made Pouhon flat" despite the low downforce package, but "couldn't add enough front wing because our low speed performance is not good".

"If we would have wanted to do Pouhon flat today just for the show, we would have clearly done it, which shows we have a very, very strong car in high speed," he said.

"We just had a very small lift because we had a bit of understeer because of our lack of front wing, but we were doing it on purpose."

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