A puzzled Carlos Sainz was at a loss to explain his crash in qualifying in Hungary but suspected that a gusty tailwind had likely unsettled his car at the final corner and sent him into the barriers.
The Ferrari driver had displayed a strong pace on the soft tyre as the front-runners set about making the Q3 cut on Pirelli’s medium compound.
Sainz’s teammate Charles Leclerc had just clocked in second when the Spaniard was coming to the end of his own flyer. But as he entered the Hungaroring’s final Turn 14 corner, the Ferrari slid off course and thumped the barriers.
With his SF21 still running, Sainz attempted to exit the run-off area but a broken front wing lodged under his car halted his maneuver and brought out the red flag.
“I was honestly completely puzzled about it, because I didn’t understand what I did wrong or did differently,” he told Sky F1 after the session.
“If anything I went into the last corner slower than in the previous lap, my Q1 run one lap, because I felt like the tyre and the wind were a bit more different.
“So I went in slower than in the previous lap, and somehow I still lost the car. So I went with the engineers to have a good check, and we found out that instead of having a 10kph headwind I had a 35kph gust, and this probably made me lose the rear.”
Feeling there was a good result on the table ahead of his mishap, a frustrated Sainz was apologetic to his team for his mistake.
“I’m not used to doing these sort of mistakes so it hurts quite a lot to do them,” he said. “I apologise to the team and I’m not going to use the wind as an excuse, just take it on the chin.
“I think it is part of the learning process. Unfortunately, it is the worst track to have this sort of issue.”
Read also: Ferrari breaks curfew to change Sainz’s power unit
Indeed, on a track where overtaking opportunities are few and far in between, the Ferrari driver will have his work cut out for him at the outset when he launches his race from the lower ranks of the grid.
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“Tomorrow will be a challenging day and tonight I will study with the team what we can do to recover as much ground as possible,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate because Q1 run one was so strong, and it was one of my strongest laps as a Ferrari driver.
“Then to have this problem here it hurts.”
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