Carlos Sainz cut a relieved figure in Miami after he rounded out a Ferrari front-row lockout behind team-mate Charles Leclerc.
Sainz put 58 laps together during free practice in Florida, but only nine of those came during FP2 as he lost control at Turn 13 and slammed into the barrier.
The Spaniard emphasised that he needed to quickly rebuild his confidence having made the mistake on Friday, and is pleased to have set a lap that was within two tenths of a second of the polesitter.
“I guess [I was] building up from a pretty heavy crash yesterday,” he said.
“It wasn’t easy to get the confidence back, especially on such a difficult circuit like this new one of Miami but I kept it cool and in Q3 I think I pulled out a couple of good laps – not quite enough for pole position – but given from where I was coming yesterday, I will take it.”
It has been documented by the drivers – notably Lando Norris and Sergio Perez – this weekend that the track is extremely slippery off the racing line, making consistency a challenge.
Max Verstappen missed out on pole after he made an error on the final run in Q3 so the lack of residual grip when the cars go onto the marbles, coupled with the fact that Ferrari and Red Bull look astonishingly close this weekend, makes for an “interesting” prospect for Sunday’s race.
“Tomorrow is going to be I think an interesting day with everything that’s going on this weekend,” said Sainz.
“I haven’t done any long runs yet. I haven’t put the fuel in the car and tried it so tomorrow will be the first time to have a feel which could be quite challenging but at the same time I’m feeling quite confident with the car.
“The car is really good to drive round here so I think we can do a good job.”
Sainz has been out-qualified all five times so far this year by Leclerc, but Saturday afternoon saw his first clean qualifying session since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in the second round of the season, which will have come as a huge reassurance to him and Ferrari.