Carlos Sainz admits he had to rebuild confidence in himself throughout qualifying for the Dutch Grand Prix after he suffered a crash in final practice.
Sainz crashed out in the third practice session on Saturday afternoon but Ferrari mechanics were able to rebuild his SF21 in time for him to take part in qualifying.
He ultimately qualified sixth, 0.010s down on team-mate Charles Leclerc.
The Spaniard later admitted that the crash had shaken his confidence and that he had to work to rebuild it throughout the qualifying sessions.
“First of all the recovery is purely thanks to the mechanics,” Sainz said. “The car wasn’t back until 20 minutes after the session, which made everything even pressed for time. They did an incredible job to put everything together and to allow me to go out.
“We sometimes talk a lot about Formula 1 drivers being very special, but Formula 1 mechanics are incredible, especially the guys today did amazing.”
“And from then on, honestly, high-pressure moment, high-tension moment in Q1, with the red flags, with the lack of confidence in myself, in the car, but I managed to build it up little by little and put a very strong lap in Q3 that nearly allowed me to qualify in top five.”
“It was tricky because I felt like I was always one or two sets of tyres behind, trying to play catch-up, but in Q3 I went for it and it paid off.”
He went on to explain that he was anything but sure about whether or not he was going to be able to take part in qualifying
“I was in doubt until I pulled out of the pits. Normally when you’re in that kind of situation, your mind tends to go into a bit of a negative state, because you’d just crashed, you’d just cost the team a massive repair to do, and you’re negative, you think you’re not going to make it.”
“But suddenly the mechanics make impossible things possible, and you’re out [on track].”
“It’s a high-pressure, high-tension moment for everyone, and you kind of need to re-focus, you need to make sure you don’t put it in the wall again, and then do the qualifying. It’s a tricky one.”
Sainz crashed in the banked turn three, spinning on corner exit and hitting the wall at the top of the banking.
“It happened very quickly,” he spoke. “At the beginning I didn’t know what had happened, then I had a bit of an analysis, a bit of a cooldown in my head, and after what I’ve seen in qualifying it’s very clear.”
“Centimetres off-line there’s clearly less grip than on-line, there’s a bit of sand, and I missed the apex by maybe 20cm in that lap, and I caught up, you can see maybe that I pulled up a bit of dust and I think that is enough to create an accident at this circuit.”
“And it’s what makes it so challenging, it’s what makes it so incredible as a driver, so enjoyable, because you know you cannot put a foot wrong and today we see drivers paying mistakes in qualifyting, and I paid it in FP3, and because of that it’s always tricky to recover the confidence in qualifying, because you know you cannot put 20 centimeters wrong. And I managed, but it was a tricky one.”