Carlos Sainz believes leaving the pits late cost him a spot in the second part of qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
After a heavy accident in FP2, Sainz came into Qualifying on the back foot on a weekend where the Maranello-based outfit needs maximum points to secure second in the constructors’ championship.
But Sainz found traffic during his fast laps in Q1 after leaving the pitlane late, and could not set a lap good enough to secure a spot in Q2, relegating him to 16th on the grid for the grand prix.
“Clearly, the pace all weekend hasn’t been the strongest, and we needed a perfect Q1 and Q2 given how tight the field is,” explained a disappointed Sainz to the media after Qualifying.
“We had a very scrappy Q1 we went very late, we had a problem with the front wing we were the last car out.
“Once I opened my last lap, I found myself a load of traffic in sector 1 and lost a couple of tenths, which cost me the spot in Q2.
“For some reason, this weekend on the soft tyres, it’s been difficult to put laps together, and we needed perfect laps in Q1 and Q2, and we didn’t get them.”
Through the weekend so far at Yas Marina, impeding on all sections of the circuit has seen several cars being blocked by slower cars on the push lap, narrowly avoiding an incident.
In Friday’s FP1 session, Sainz blocked McLaren rookie Pato O’Ward, causing him to slow down to a crawl on his out lap and hampering his push lap.
Impeding in the pitlane has also been a problem, with Max Verstappen having to narrowly overtake both Mercedes of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton at pit exit during FP2 to get a clear track position.
“It’s tricky, it’s difficult to say, but there were cars out there today, between us drivers, we know that if you do a corner one or two seconds in front of another car, you’re going to make them lose a tenth in that corner,” explained Sainz.
“I see people as the weekend goes relaxing a bit on that, and when it’s tight in Q1 or Q2, I see people giving a bit of dirty air on purpose in some corners to make the others lose some time corners in which we don’t consider impeding.
“But you know you’re giving them dirty, and you know you’re giving him as a bad run in that corner. So by going out last, I made everything basically in sector 1 and sector 2 very close to the cars in front and found myself losing tenths.”