Carlos Sainz had a big slide into the final corner in his pursuit of pole for the Canadian Grand Prix – but although he missed it and will start third, he still believes he can battle Max Verstappen for the win .
Spaniard’s team-mate Charles Leclerc will finish in 19th place after taking a series of new engine components that have caused hefty grid penalties, meaning Sainz carries Ferrari’s main hope of victory.
READ MORE: Verstappen braves wet conditions to claim Canadian GP pole for sensational Alonso
His first goal is to get ahead of fellow countryman and friend Fernando Alonso, who makes an excellent second start after mastering the wet conditions – with Sainz risking Verstappen traveling off in the distance if he doesn’t manage it.
“It will be important” [to pass Alonso] so we can get behind Max as soon as possible,” he said. “And from there try to push Red Bull into a strategy or into something else. I think we have a good chance – we just have to make sure we get behind them as soon as possible, and if not, we have to pass them at the start.”
Sainz seemed to have the pace for the front row, but admitted he pushed too hard in the last sector.
“It was a while,” he said. “Trying to get back that last tenth or two that benefited Max all day. I really wanted it, but in the end it probably cost me more than I was going for. But it is as it is.
“I did a really good sector one, then in sector two I felt the lap go away from me, and in sector three I decided to push really hard in the last corner to see if I could get pole but it cost me in the end more than half a second.”
Leclerc, meanwhile, called it a day after Q1, despite moving on to the next session, as he knew he was destined to start from the back because of the penalties.
READ MORE: Leclerc joins Tsunoda at back of Montreal grid after series of power cuts
“It was nice to do some push laps in the rain, obviously without taking too much risk because I couldn’t damage the car for tomorrow,” he said. “But overall it was okay, and the feeling was good, so it’s always fun.”
‘Hope we can make it to the field’ – Leclerc braced for back row start in Canadian Grand Prix
The Ferrari is well aligned with Red Bull’s race pace according to our data from Friday, giving Leclerc hopes he can make progress again in the points and limit damage in the drivers’ standings.
“I have to say that overtaking was a little harder than I expected yesterday,” he said. “I hope we can get through the field as soon as possible and then the pace should at least give us a good chance to come back.”