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Sainz: We know why we aren't quick

Sainz: We know why we aren’t quick

Sainz: We know why we aren't quick

Scuderia Ferrari endured a subpar Qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix but it was no surprise for the Scuderia’s drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc.

The pair will line up in P4 and P8 respectively for Sunday’s 53-lap race. Ferrari struggled to match the pace of Oracle Red Bull Racing and were even slower than rivals McLaren.

Their performance so far this weekend is in stark contrast to their results at the preceding Australian Grand Prix, where Sainz led Leclerc in an unexpected Ferrari one-two following defending Champion Max Verstappen’s early retirement from the event.

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But their lack of pace around the Suzuka International Racing Course hasn’t come as a surprise for the Italian team. Sainz stated to Sky Sports F1 that they were not expecting to challenge for the top positions from the get-go.

He said: “Especially after FP3 we saw we didn’t have the pace as FP1 and we thought it was going to be a tougher weekend. We actually made a good step in quali, it’s just Lando two tenths in front for P3 is too big for Suzuka, normally the gaps are very, very tight. Two tenths was too much.

“But I did some very good laps in this quali and I was happy with my performance. It’s still a track where the Ferrari is not the fastest car around and we know why”, added the Spaniard.

The recent race winner nevertheless hopes that he will make up places during the race. He continued: “We have been better on the race pace this weekend but I don’t know if it will be good or bad. I hope we can fight them [McLaren] in the race because in quali it was impossible.

“In the race it would be nice to have a fight for the podium between Lando, me, Fernando, Merc behind. It should be an interesting battle for the podium, I think the Red Bulls are unfortunately in a different league around here”, said Sainz.

Leclerc: Nothing I tried today worked

Sainz: We know why we aren't quick

When asked to explain his frustrations heard over team radio after Qualifying, Leclerc stated that he left the track feeling confused as to why he was so far off the leading lap times.

He lamented: “It’s one of those sessions. Maybe you get it once in a season. But it’s definitely not a good feeling.

“Everything feels ok. The balance is not way off… if I rely on the feeling of the car I’m like, OK, this is a good lap. And then you look at the board and you are a second off.

“I’ve tried many different things today and it didn’t work any of the things I’ve tried. So for now I don’t have the answer”, concluded the Monegasque.

Leclerc seems less optimistic about his chances of moving up the order in the race. He said: “The race pace looks strong. I just hope we have the opportunity to overtake. Because on a track like this it’s going to be very difficult to overtake. So I’ll do my best and we’ll see.”

The Japanese Grand Prix commences at 06:00 GMT (14:00 local time) on Sunday April 7th.