Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2020

Sainz credits “super-low downforce” set-up after out-qualifying Racing Point pair

2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr said he was surprised to out-qualify the two Racing Point drivers at Spa-Francorchamps.

The McLaren driver credited a “super low-downforce” set-up on his car after taking seventh on the grid ahead of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. Team principal Andreas Seidl said he didn’t expect either of his drivers to end up ahead of the pink cars.

“It’s good to see that we actually had the pace to be in front of the Racing Points in qualifying, which is a bit unexpected, I have to say,” Seidl remarked.

“I think it will be an interesting race tomorrow if in dry conditions. If you look at what we have seen on Friday, I think it is a very tight battle between the Renaults, Racing Points and us. Also the AlphaTauris have been not far off. If then the additional dimension of the weather comes into play, it can be even more exciting.”

Sainz was unable to out-qualify the two Renault drivers and doubts he will be able to challenge Daniel Ricciardo or Esteban Ocon tomorrow.

“I think we were in a very strong position – definitely the strongest that we can be with seventh,” he said. “All the cars that we have in front I think are quicker, both in race pace and in qualifying. The Renaults have been three tenths ahead all weekend so it’s difficult for us to beat them.

“It’s a surprise to qualify ahead of the Racing Points and I’m pretty sure they will put on a very big fight tomorrow, but at least we are there in the middle.”

Sainz revealed that McLaren are running a “super-low downforce” package for the Belgian Grand Prix which he admits will make him vulnerable if rain arrives on Sunday.

“Let’s see what the weather is tomorrow,” he said. “We elected to run super-low downforce, which means if the rain comes, we might suffer.”

Lando Norris could only manage 10th on the grid after being held up by Esteban Ocon during his out-lap before his final Q3 run.

“I’m a bit disappointed at the moment because we could have definitely finished higher up with Lando,” said Seidl.

“But unfortunately with the mess on the out-lap, he then didn’t have a slipstream on his lap in Q3 where it counted. And by this, he didn’t have a chance to finish higher up.

“But it’s encouraging to see that, again, we had both cars in Q3. So it looks like whatever the type of circuit, we have a good package.”

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2020 Belgian Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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One comment on “Sainz credits “super-low downforce” set-up after out-qualifying Racing Point pair”

  1. sainz should do politics

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