Sainz: Shootout lap ‘one of the craziest’ of F1 career
By Mat Coch
Sunday 2nd July, 2023 - 2:56am
Carlos Sainz described the lap which saw him progress into the second phase of Sprint Shootout qualifying in Austria as “one of the craziest” of his career.
The Ferrari driver suffered a brake-by-wire failure during the opening segment of the three-part session that determined the grid for the F1 Sprint.
Mechanics affected rapid repairs and the Spaniard was able to head back out on track, recording a stunning time that saw him top the session.
“This morning wasn’t easy,” he confessed.
“When you are in the middle of a qualifying out lap, and you realise you’ve lost the brakes, and then you’re in the garage and you see the clock counting down…
“Then you see obviously all your rivals getting their laps in on a drying track, which is normally what you need to do to gain confidence.
“I was pretty much thinking the day was over because I thought I was going to get out-qualified in Q1 and all that.
“But then I did an out lap and I just kind of closed my eyes [and] went for it.
“I did probably one of the craziest laps of my career because obviously one timed lap only and the track drying, I didn’t know where the grip was.
“I just sent it and went P1!”
He benefitted when Lando Norris ran wide in the McLaren on the opening lap before picking off the Haas of Nico Hulkenberg when he struggled for grip approaching half-distance.
From there, it was essentially plain sailing, crossing the line two seconds back from Sergio Perez to claim the final podium place.
It was the best he could have hoped for, Sainz reasoned, suggesting Perez had him covered in terms of pace.
“Around the time that I passed Nico is when I had my tyres in the best operating window and I had quite a lot of pace, but Checo was just a bit too far and we couldn’t catch up,” he said.
“In general, it was a solid race.
“Was very easy to put a foot wrong out there today; first time on the inters all weekend, so you never know what group you will have.”
Sainz will start third for Sunday’s race, one spot behind Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc.