Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris will occupy the fourth row of the starting grid for the Portuguese Grand Prix, which will be contested at the Algarve Circuit this Sunday. The Spaniard is happy with his performance despite a windy second attempt in Q3.
"I am happy because the car performed better than at the Nürburgring" welcomes Sainz. "The wind didn't allow us to progress, but tomorrow will be another day. We didn't know what to do with the tires."
The teams have indeed juggled between soft and medium tires to extract maximum performance, and Sainz admits that McLaren got lost, in particular because of too precarious grip linked to the track itself: "It was difficult to find the right strategy. I like this track, but the asphalt is too new."
Norris will accompany his team-mate on the same line of the starting grid, and only missed seventh place, synonymous with starting on the clean side of the track, by five thousandths against Sainz.
"The car was horrible all weekend, but I think everyone is saying that" Norris notes. "The surface and the wind make things very tricky, everything changes from turn to turn and when you're confident you think you can attack but everything has changed."
"It's very tricky, sometimes you need luck, if the wind changes you can win a tenth or two instantly. But seventh and eighth is still a good result for us."
Norris says he was embarrassed by the disruption of Max Verstappen's Red Bull but admits the wind was critical: "He made the wind even worse … but he was three seconds ahead and I blame him, I think he will deny that."
He hopes to take advantage of what promises to be an eventful race: "It's very difficult, a lot of the riders could make mistakes and miss braking. As the race progresses the track should be better … but it could also rain."