McLaren’s Carlos Sainz says his qualifying exit in Q2 was down to bodywork tweaks on his car to aid cooling, after the team noticed higher temperatures on his car during practice for Formula 1’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix.
Sainz could only manage the 13th quickest time, whilst team-mate Lando Norris made it through to Q3, but was slowest of the bunch and ended up tenth on Sunday’s grid.
Sainz explained the reason for his early exit was the need to open up some additional cooling vents, which contribute to greater drag and therefore less straight-line speed, which he believes cost him a couple of tenths.
“When the qualifying started we saw that the others went a little faster than last weekend, while we were stalled a bit,” said the Spaniard.
“If you add to that the fact that we had a problem in my car in FP3. We saw that the temperature of the car was much higher, and we had to open the rear cooling holes a lot to cool it. That cost us top speed, which is essential here.
“I’m a bit frustrated about that [but] anyway, I think we’re not in such a bad position for tomorrow.”
Sainz said there was no choice but to make the changes or risk retiring from Sunday’s race.
“You can see in the two cars, one has the cooling holes in the back more closed and the other is much more open. That here costs a lot of drag and top speed.
“If we wanted to race tomorrow, we had to change this bodywork, there was no other way. Tomorrow I will try to start full gas, as always, I will try to come back.
“But today I am a bit surprised with how much Renault, Racing Point, even AlphaTauri have improved in qualifying. They have found something this weekend that we could not find.”