Carlos Sainz certainly had fun on the rollercoaster track of Portimao, Portugal. The Spaniard managed to put his Ferrari in ninth place during FP1, when he hit the track firstly with running with hard tyres and then switching to soft in the second part of the session. Meanwhile, teammate Charles Leclerc was out on track trying some new elements on the floor of his SF21, clocking the fourth-fastest time overall. Sainz was able to try the new floor in the afternoon, when he scored the fourth-fastest time, only 0.360s slower than session leader Lewis Hamilton.
The surface slippery condition didn't make life easier for most of the grip, especially with the wind blowing in FP2. Finding a correct balance wasn't easy, but Sainz did enjoy himself. Those conditions were perfect for the Spaniard to try new things with his new challenger to help him in developing the feeling with the car.
“Another positive Friday, another day of building experience with the car. We are maintaining our positive learning curve, as this weekend the conditions and the tarmac are very different to the previous venues. Bahrain and Imola were high-grip tracks, while here in Portimao it was quite slippery and really windy today. I like the challenge of having to find the grip where there isn’t any! Last year, I really enjoyed racing here a lot" Sainz explained.
The Spaniard, who was racing with McLaren last year, managed to qualify seventh but took the race lead in the first laps of the race. For now, Carlos and Ferrari will focus on qualifying.
"We are fully focused on tomorrow. We saw in Imola that Friday may be misleading when comparing our one-lap pace to our competitors, so we are wary of that. I think the key to the weekend is going to be understanding the tyres, as we set similar times on Soft and Mediums. We need to master the car’s behaviour with the different compounds, understand how to warm up the tyres properly and then identify when is the right time to try and set the fastest lap. Looking forward to tomorrow. Vamos!”