Carlos Sainz Jr. was left baffled by the behaviour of his R.S.18 during Qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday, with the Spaniard finding himself eliminated in Q1 with an ill-handling car.
The Renault Sport Formula One Team racer had felt confident heading into the session at Spa-Francorchamps on Saturday after positive feelings with the car during the three Free Practice sessions, but excessive oversteer saw him struggling for performance, and as a result he was on the wrong side of the cut-off point when the chequered flag fell.
“Qualifying didn’t go as expected,” admitted Sainz. “We’re looking into what’s happened with the car as it wasn’t behaving as normal, it was strange as I had a lot of oversteer, which is something I’ve not had all weekend.
“The car felt fine yesterday and this morning, then suddenly for qualifying it’s not how it was. It’s tricky to understand, and we’ll be going through the data to figure out why.”
Sainz, who announced he will be switching to the McLaren F1 Team in 2019, says Sunday is another day and despite his lowly grid slot – he does move up two spots to fourteenth due to the grid penalties for Valtteri Bottas and team-mate Nico Hülkenberg – he still has ambitions of securing a points finish.
“It’s a circuit where you can overtake so of course tomorrow is another day and we’ll be looking to work our way through to the points,” said the Spaniard.
One thing under consideration is a possible pit lane start with a complete set-up change, with Sainz admitting to Motorsport.com that the investigation into his troubles will determine their plan on Sunday.
“It’s being discussed. It’s under investigation,” said Sainz. “We’re looking into it. It’s very difficult to say or to tell with so little time after qualifying.
“The only thing I know is the car had nothing to do with the rest of the weekend, and like this it’s very difficult when you start a push lap in Q1 to put any kind of good lap together.”