Carlos Sainz makes shocking admission

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz will start Sunday's race from the sixth row of the grid, after only managing P12 in qualifying.

Carlos Sainz admitted after qualifying at the Qatar Grand Prix that he wasn’t surprised to be eliminated in Q2, after enduring grip issues with his SF-23.

Several drivers went off the circuit during qualifying in what was a windy and sandy affair, under the lights at the Lusail International Circuit.

A new track surface resulted in very low grip on the opening day of the sprint weekend, meaning the drivers only had Free Practice 1 to get themselves prepared for Friday evening’s qualifying session.

However, qualifying was the drivers first experience of the new surface at night, when the temperature had cooled.

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The cooler track temperature caused issues for Sainz, who could only salvage P12.

He admitted after the session that he “struggled quite heavily” during the session, making it unsurprising that he failed to progress into Q3.

“Yeah, I had a very difficult qualifying right from the beginning,” Sainz said after qualifying.

“We were struggling quite a bit with the balance. The rear was very, very loose while in FP1 I managed to switch on the tyres and get a decent grip on this new surface.

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“When the track temp dropped, I just couldn’t find any grip out there, so I struggled quite heavily so I’m not surprised to miss out on Q3.”

As well as being eliminated in Q2, the Spaniard also received a warning from the stewards, after blocking Max Verstappen in the second part of qualifying.

Whilst his starting position for Sunday’s race is less than ideal, he does get a second chance to at least try and qualify in a better spot for Saturday evening’s sprint race.

He’s hopeful that he can “turn it around” for the sprint, with that being his “main focus” for the time being.

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“Hopefully we can turn it around for the Sprint tomorrow,” Sainz added. “But definitely Sunday is going to be tricky starting so far back on a difficult track to overtake.

“My main focus now is to see what we can do better tomorrow.”

The sprint shootout will take place in similar conditions to FP1, something which should work in Sainz’s favour as he claimed second in the only practice session of the weekend.