Sainz admits qualifying was "very stressful" after P3 finish

Carlos Sainz says the wet qualifying for the Styrian Grand Prix created a stressful situation, but credited his McLaren team for guiding him to his best career qualifying result.

Sainz admits qualifying was "very stressful" after P3 finish

The Spanish driver produced an impressive late lap in Q3 to jump up to third place in qualifying to maintain McLaren’s strong start to the 2020 Formula 1 season following on from teammate Lando Norris’s maiden podium in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.

Sainz, who says he relishes driving in wet conditions, admits it was one of the most stressful sessions he has experienced in his F1 career but was delighted with the result.

“Today I did enjoy myself but I must say it was quite stressful, it was a very stressful qualifying session,” Sainz said.

“It would be good for you guys to actually see what we go through in a Formula 1 car, like towards the end of Q3 with the amount of standing water and aquaplaning and not seeing anything. 

“Just keeping your foot flat and trusting that the thing is going to grip so you can put a lap together towards the end and risking everything. So I am very happy but it was very stressful at the same time.

“I was talking to Tom my engineer before the session and let him know he was on for one of the most stressful qualifying sessions of the year and he agreed with me that the wet qualifying are the most difficult from a race engineer point of view and I think he did a tremendous job.

“We are completely blind in the car as we cannot see anything in front or at the back, we don’t even know who is pushing and who is not and you don’t want to disturb someone but you want to keep track position so they are our eyes in these conditions.”

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With dry conditions forecast for Sunday’s race, Sainz hopes his work completed during the Friday afternoon practice session can pay off to improve his race pace so he can defend his strong starting position.

“I don’t know how we are going to do tomorrow, I just know that we were focused a lot in FP2 on the long runs to see how the long compounds behaved and try to make the right decision for tomorrow,” he explained.

“It is very tricky because if you don’t know the fuel or engine modes that everyone is running. I wouldn’t say that we were particularly that far off in the race last weekend we just went back to our normal position or where we deserved to be.

“But I think we over-delivered in qualifying, well Lando over-delivered with an incredible lap in qualifying, so let us see what we can do tomorrow but I am definitely excited about it.”

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