After missing out on the majority of final practice due to a control unit issue, Carlos Sainz Jr admitted he struggled during qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix, and ultimately could only qualify fourteenth.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver was out-qualified by team-mate Daniil Kvyat on Saturday, and spun at Spoon during his second attempt during Q2 that was not on course to improve his time in any case, but left Sainz disappointed.
“A bit of a tough and tricky day for us,” said Sainz. “I missed out on FP3 due to an issue with the CU, so I was many laps behind the rest of the field when it got to Qualifying.
“At a track like this one it’s very difficult to recover your rhythm… I had to play catch-up from the start and it was a bit of a stressful session, nearly not making it into Q2 because of timing…
“Luckily we did, but then in Q2 I wasn’t improving my lap-time during my second run and then made a mistake when trying a different line and entry speed at Spoon… It’s the type of things you usually try in FP3 if I say the truth!
“It’s therefore a Saturday that definitely didn’t go our way from the beginning of the day onwards, but hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!”
Sainz remains positive that there is some potential to move forward during Sunday’s race, especially after feeling he left some time out on track in qualifying, with points certainly possible for the Spaniard.
“Looking at the positive side, if today we had a bad Quali but still ended up P14, it means that the car has the potential to be a bit more ahead,” said Sainz.
“We have a good race pace for tomorrow – it might be tough to get to the points as there are a few other teams quicker than us, but as soon as something happens we should be the best of the rest.”