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Sainz claims Qatar "surprised" F1 teams

Sainz claims Qatar "surprised" F1 teams

F1 News

Sainz claims Qatar "surprised" F1 teams

Sainz claims Qatar "surprised" F1 teams

Carlos Sainz has suggested F1 teams have been "surprised" by the nature of the Losail International Circuit during practice for the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix.

Qatar was added to the calendar in place of the cancelled Australian Grand Prix with only two drivers - Nikita Mazepin and Sergio Perez - having previously raced at the venue.

Comparisons between circuits ranged from Silverstone, Barcelona, Shanghai and Budapest depending on which team was asked, with Sainz conceding the track was faster than expected.

"The first day on an unknown track is always exciting and challenging, as it’s obviously a completely new experience," said the Ferrari driver.

"To be honest, I think this track has surprised everyone with how fast it is and the speed we are doing around the corners.

"That translates into having to work harder on the set-ups we originally had in mind and having to adapt throughout the day.

"We are not exactly where we want to be, so we need to improve the car overnight because the competition is very tight.

"I have full confidence that we can manage it and hopefully tomorrow we will be further up the order."

Ferrari to focus on qualifying improvement

Charles Leclerc finished the day 13th around a second off the pace of Valtteri Bottas and hinted the team would focus on qualifying preparation in final practice, given the strong high-fuel showing.

On the new circuit, he commented: "I really like the track here at Losail, it is great.

"It’s always interesting to mix things up and see a new venue on the calendar.

"We put in a good number of laps across our two cars today, getting to know the characteristics of the circuit and gathering as much data as possible.

"Our main focus will probably be on qualifying preparation because our long-runs were already quite good.

"What will be key is balancing the first and last sectors, due to tyre overheating that is caused by the high temperatures here."

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