Qualifying for the Portuguese Grand Prix was once again a close affair in the midfield, with a number of cars fighting for a place on the third row of the grid.
One team that has shown vast improvement already in 2021 is Ferrari, with Carlos Sainz taking off from P5 tomorrow afternoon and Charles Leclerc in P8.
For the second time in three races, Scuderia Ferrari managed to get both drivers into Q3, fighting for a place at the front of the grid.
The team acknowledged that conditions were difficult, with low grip, and consistent wind that varied in intensity and direction from minute to minute, affecting the performance of both drivers.
When the final pecking order was in, the Ferrari team said “it was Carlos’ turn to shine in the final minutes, emerging as the best of the midfield pack on both his two runs and his time of 1:19.039 was good enough for fifth on the grid.”
Speaking after a hectic day, Sainz said he’s confident they can fight for points at tomorrow’s Grand Prix.
“It was a very hard qualifying out here in Portimão due to the gusty wind and the tricky conditions but I’m happy with my session”, he said.
“When I was out on track I could feel I was driving well and we have been making good decisions on the setup of the car all weekend.
“The biggest positive for me is that my approach seems to be working fine and the feeling with the car gets better with every session.
“There is still a lot of room for improvement, but I think today was a good step and I’m happy about that, though I would have preferred to make it into Q3 with the mediums.”
Sainz added: “My pace was good with that compound and if it hadn’t been for the traffic with another car on the second push I think I would have been in a better position to make the cut.
“However, since I had saved one set of softs after a strong first run in Q1, we decided to avoid unnecessary risks and qualified to Q3 with softs.
“Once in the top ten, a good couple of laps gave us P5 for tomorrow.
“Despite the tyre disadvantage for the race, I’m confident that with a strong start and tyre management from my side we can fight for good points. Lets race! Hasta mañana.”
The Portuguese Grand Prix will kick off tomorrow with lights out at 3:00 pm Irish time.