McLaren driver Carlos Sainz expects qualifying for the Formula 1 season opening Austrian Grand Prix to be a keenly fought contest.
In second practice on Friday, little over half a second separated positions five to 15. Only Mercedes consistently showed pace stronger than that of the midfield.
"We are starting to see the pecking order a little better, and we are up for a tight Saturday" said Sainz.
Both Sainz and teammate Lando Norris damaged their cars on the harsh Austrian kerbs on Friday - Norris causing significant damage to the floor and bargeboards while Sainz dislodged his front wing, running onto the kerbs after being told to steer clear.
He added: "We had some challenges and need to keep an eye on those yellow kerbs. I ran over one on my flying lap which cost me time on the final sector. Another minor issue kept me in the garage towards the end of the session but until then the car was showing a decent pace."
Both cars ended Friday inside the top ten, but with the sixth fastest time, Norris ended the day the faster of the two.
Norris said: "The first few laps are a bit of a shock to the body, because there’s nothing like driving an F1 car, but it’s great to be back. We got through our run plan, we did a good number of laps and I’m pretty happy with the car."
GPFans is a multi-platform, multi-language brand dedicated to Formula One coverage. We bring you all the ins and outs of the sport, 24/7, everything from up-to-the-minute news and features to the latest viral stories and clips.
We believe that a new generation of exciting, outspoken drivers will make F1 more popular than ever before, and we want to give our users access to as much of their heroes as possible, on and off the track. From Lewis Hamilton to Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo to Sebastian Vettel, we provide in-depth analysis of every every Grand Prix in the season, from Australia to Abu Dhabi.
With Formula One under the new ownership of Liberty Media, how the sport is being covered is evolving, and GPFans will look to be at the heart of this progression into new media, as one of the fastest-growing sites covering the king of motorsports.