Regulations changes meant F1 cars grew from 1.8 metres wide to 2 metres last season, returning to their 1997 widths.Max Verstappen’s Red Bull did not take part.
“It was a circus,” he said. “Maybe [they’re] too wide these cars, too many cars on this Tarmac for 20 at the same time trying to put a lap together.”
Sainz said it was difficult for him to get a clear lap in because he was not in sync with when the other cars around him.
“Whenever I was pushing the rest were doing cool down laps,” he explained. “I was finding them and then I was pushing, [then] I was on a cool down lap and they were on a push lap.
“It was very difficult but in the end we made it with only one set of tyres in Q1 which was a difficult task, but we made it.”
Sainz added he was surprised to be out-qualified by Fernando Alonso given McLaren’s pace on Thursday.
“After FP1 where I was a good half a second clear of them, they have improved a lot and it is maybe something for us to look into,” he said.
“I think it is a combination of good adaptation to qualifying conditions [and] also for sure they tried something different. If not I don’t understand how you can find so much lap time around such a short circuit. For us it was a matter of reacting towards that and pushing flat out to make it.”
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2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year