Sainz suggests he’s at a disadvantage to Leclerc in Baku

Both Ferrari and Red Bull had their share of head scratching to do after Friday practice in Azerbaijan.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz has revealed that he is trying to figure out why “porpoising’ made a return during Friday practice in Azerbaijan.

Sainz managed 47 laps over the course of the opening two practice sessions of the weekend as he ended fourth in the first one, before ending up behind compatriot Fernando Alonso in FP2 following a hugely impressive day for the 40-year-old.

However, the F1-75 was seen bouncing heavily on the straights, an issue which arrived along with the new technical regulations, but something that did not appear to trouble the Scuderia in Miami, Spain or Monaco.

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The 27-year-old has previously warned of the health risks attached to “porpoising” if the issue is not solved, so he is endeavouring to discover why it came back on Friday.

“Well, it is certainly something I’m looking into because today for some reason I struggled quite a bit with this phenomenon that hasn’t been there in the last few races,” he explained.

“And it looked particularly bad on my side of the garage, so it’s something I need to dig into the data with the engineers because it is something really annoying round here.

“It was taking out quite a bit of the confidence on the straights and on the braking, so hopefully for tomorrow we can solve it.”

Asides from that, the 10-time podium finisher is satisfied with a productive day’s running in the windy city.

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“With these new cars you can feel a lot more the bumps and the challenges of this circuit,” added Sainz.

“But it was a good day, I think we made good steps as a team, we moved in the right direction with the car and we certainly felt more competitive in FP2 than in FP1, together with feeling a bit more at home, so we’ll get there.”

Team-mate Charles Leclerc finished FP1 second behind Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, before pipping the Mexican in the second session.

He complained in the early part of FP2 of engine issues, and seemed a little confused when his engineer, Xavi Marcos, told him that he was not seeing anything untoward on the telemetry.

As it turns out, the Monegasque had simply put the engine in the wrong mode and forgotten to change it back.

“Actually it was no power unit problems,” said Leclerc.

“It’s just me that forgot that I had changed something, which obviously made me lose power but yes, nothing weird.”

The drivers have generally been struggling to get the tyres into an operating window this season, and it did not look as though anybody was really able to squeeze more than one push lap out of the Softs during the qualifying runs.

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Max Verstappen finished third in both sessions as he tried to get a handle of his erratic Red Bull, so there are a lot of unknowns heading into qualifying.

“We’ve had a hard Friday because overall I think we’ve improved quite a lot from FP1 to FP2, but there’s still another step that we have to do from today to tomorrow,” Leclerc explained.

“I also feel like in FP2 nobody really put a lap in and neither did we – actually I think Max and Carlos didn’t actually improve on the softs, so there’s still quite a lot of question marks.

“I think the positive to take away from today is that the tyre degradation was good and the race pace was very strong, so that is good.”

Leclerc has lost each of the last two race wins from pole due to a reliability failure in Spain and a poor strategy from Ferrari in Monaco, so he will be aiming to put that run to bed with a win this weekend.