Both Sainz along with his teammate Lando Norris revealed well in Friday’s next 90-minute practice session but even this came as a surprise, also come qualifying neither driver made it through to the top-10 shoot out.
“We knew before coming that this track could expose our flaws far more than the other two paths so far this season,” said Sainz. “So we kind of expected not to be poorer but to fight a bit more.
“Likely FP2 yesterday gave us more encouragement than it should consume and now we return to reality.”
Sainz and Norris were eighth fastest throughout Friday’s second session. Inspired by Motorsport.com whether Saturday’s comparative slump was caused by McLaren being not able to reproduce its Friday performance, or only by rivals finding greater pace, Sainz affirmed that the team was still investigating.
“There’s a bit of analysis to check into why we were that competitive at FP2 and then on Saturday we travelled right back to where we’d likely to become,” he explained. “No huge surprises, just a few research to be carried out.
“On Thursday I knew at this track, [reaching] Q 3 are a lot more challenging, it’s only that on Friday being P6 and P8 [at FP2] got us very encouraged. We mightn’t be too bad as we all thought at this course.
“But coming into Saturday it’s reasonable to say we were not as quick as we’d like.”
The long straights, coupled with two especially corners that stress the front-left tyre of shanghai, were the secret to the issues of McLaren, according to Norris. Straight line rate has been a bugbear of their team for all seasons.
“Though there are not heaps of corners compared with Bahrain or Australia, we’re not speediest on the straights but we’re definitely not speediest in the corners,” he explained.
“Thus there is a whole lot of work to complete to find the vehicle better yet that is obvious and has been since the start of the season.”
McLaren MCL34, lando Norris
Photo by: Glenn DuNBAr / / LAT Images