Sainz: I’m still on a learning curve

sainz leclerc ferrari imola 2021

Carlos Sainz was disappointed with his performance in qualifying for the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, the Spaniard citing a lack of experience in the Ferrari for his below-par showing at Imola on Saturday.

The Spaniard, in his second race weekend for the Scuderia, failed to make the cut for Q3, missing out by just 61-thousandths. He will start from 11the which gives him the benefit to choose the tyre compound he wishes to use for the start of the race on Sunday.

In the team report from qualifying, Sainz said: “Today’s result is not what I wanted. I struggled to nail all the corners in one single lap since the beginning of qualifying.

“Every small mistake can cost you many positions in this tight field, so I am not happy because I know the lap time was there had I been able to make it all work on one strong lap.”

Sainz’s best effort in Q2 was 1:15.199 just sort of four-tenths of a second down on Charles Leclerc in the other SF21, who was good for fourth on the grid at the end of the day.

“At the same time,” continued Carlos. “I think this track has exposed that I still lack a bit of experience with the car to exactly know what to expect and how to extract the absolute maximum of it. It will come, I’m sure, but I feel I’m still on a learning curve.

“Into tomorrow, you can be sure I’ll give my absolute best to gain positions and fight for the best result possible. I’m confident in my pace and we will try to use the free tyre choice to our advantage.”

Ferrari racing director Laurent Mekies added: “Naturally, there’s a bit of disappointment that Carlos missed the cut to Q3 by just 61 thousandths in what was a very close session with 15 drivers all covered by just nine-tenths.

“We knew that Carlos would need a few races to feel totally at ease in his new team and to gain confidence in a car that is very different to the one he was used to. He is making good progress, completely in line with our expectations.

“Nevertheless, his grid position means we can look at a variety of options in terms of strategy so there is every chance he can get a good result,” added Mekies of Sainz.