After some difficult qualifying sessions that saw him fail to get the most out of his Ferrari, Carlos Sainz was pleased to have finally put things together in a clean session.
The Spaniard will start Sunday's French Grand Prix from fifth on the grid, the first non-Mercedes or Red Bull driver. Saturday's session was all the more satisfying for Sainz after seeing strong runs in Monaco and Azerbaijan derailed due to red flags.
"Pretty happy," Sainz told RacingNews365.com and other members of the media. "I must say that today, it's bit of a relief after two or three frustrating qualifying where I didn't manage to extract the true potential of the car
"Coming here, I was looking for a clean quali, no issues no red flags, two or three strong laps and that's exactly what I managed to do today. A bit of relief because it had been a frustrating two or three qualifying sessions recently.
Teammate Charles Leclerc had stated that Sainz was better able to deal with the limitations of the Ferrari, but the Spaniard pointed out that everyone is struggling to get the most out of their tyres.
"It's still tight," Sainz added. "It is true that in Q1 and Q2 I had a bit of margin and then he picked up the pace a lot in Q3," Sainz added. "We are struggling like everyone with the front tyres, feeling a bit too soft, and it's difficult to drive the tyres at their peak. It's very easy to overslick them.
"I was trying to stay disciplined, but I was also struggling with the same [issue], it's not easy. F1 keeps getting more and more challenging in adapting and trying to understand what's going on with so much wind direction changes, track temperature changes.
"The important thing is that today with every compound and in every wind direction, I kind of knew how to adapt or how to change. And suddenly the lap time came."