"On paper, we thought this track would be good for us. The midfield in Formula 1 always has surprises, this has been a nasty surprise but we kept our heads down and we managed to improve the car quite a lot going into qualifying so we also need to be happy and proud as a team that we didn't lose our heads too much."
The Spaniard, who will race for Mugello circuit owners Ferrari next season, remains optimistic of a good result in Sunday's race, pointing to the bedlam of the Italian Grand Prix as a prime example of why he won't give up hope.
"We came from a very strong weekend in Monza and the midfield always has surprises," Sainz added.
"Here, we have been struggling quite a bit with car balance and general grip in the car. I wouldn't expect massive changes going into tomorrow in terms of pace and car behaviour but racing is racing and anything can happen as we saw in Monza."
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