Carlos Sainz explains worrying Ferrari revelation in Spanish GP qualifying

Ferrari qualified fifth and sixth at the 2024 Spanish Grand Prix, well off the pace of McLaren polesitter Lando Norris

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Carlos Sainz revealed he conceded the fight for pole position at the 2024 Spanish GP before it had even got underway, despite believing Ferrari could match Red Bull, McLaren and Mercedes after free practice.

Sainz qualified sixth for his home race, just 0.005 seconds behind teammate Charles Leclerc but crucially 0.353 seconds behind polesitter Lando Norris with three different constructors represented on the grid in front of Ferrari.

Less than four-hundredths separated Sainz in sixth and Lewis Hamilton in third but it will be uphill battle for either Ferrari to challenge for victory despite beating Sergio Perez and Oscar Piastri in Q3.

“Unfortunately around Q2 we realised that when Red Bull and McLaren turned it up, they had an edge over us,” Sainz told members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com.

“I’m disappointed because honestly, after practice I thought we had a chance to fight for pole position this weekend. But very quickly in Q2 we realised we were just a step too far.

“We could sit here and argue the three hundredths more we would be P3 but the reality is that I’m looking more at the gap to Lando than the gap to the Mercedes because three tenths and half is a lot of laptime around Barcelona.

“I don’t know what happened to Checo and Oscar but the Red Bull and McLaren seemed a bit out of reach, the Mercedes within a tenth of us and the two Mercedes drivers ahead of the two Ferrari drivers so it’s extremely tight, it is good fun out there.”

Carlos Sainz ahead of the 2024 Spanish GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office
Carlos Sainz ahead of the 2024 Spanish GP | Scuderia Ferrari Press Office

Sainz details porpoising concern

While Sainz was surprised at Ferrari‘s lack of competitiveness, he added their form at medium tracks like Suzuka and the Shanghai International Circuit indicated the SF-24 does have a weakness in medium and high-speed corners.

The most worrying concern raised by Sainz was over porpoising though, as he explained both he and Leclerc have been dealing with the car bouncing through quicker corners in Barcelona.

“We’ve been struggling all weekend with the high-speed corners, we still have this bouncing phenomenon that gives us a very tough time,” Sainz added. “Probably this is also killing the tyre a bit for the third sector.

“I don’t know, still the third year of these regulations I’m fighting this porpoising in high-speed corners when you put lateral load in the car and it’s been tough all weekend to try and get rid of it and still we haven’t managed to get rid of it.

“And we come to this track and you can see McLaren and Red Bull, zero bouncing.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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