Carlos Sainz feels he may not have the race pace to fight for victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, with teammate Charles Leclerc having done "a much better job" over the course of the weekend so far.
Sainz will start the race in third, with Red Bull's Max Verstappen between him and pole-sitting teammate Leclerc, who snatched the prime starting spot on Saturday with a lap only 0.14 seconds faster.
The result was the latest blow of many for Sainz in Bahrain, during a weekend in which he has found himself struggling to rival Leclerc's pace.
"Once I look into the data, I'll probably find out [why], but not yet," Sainz told media, including RacingNews365.com, when asked if he knew in what area he needed to improve to match his teammate.
"I'm glad to be fighting for pole position. It's been a very difficult weekend for me. I've been slow, simple as that. Charles has been doing a much better job than me all weekend and I have been playing catch-up.
"Honestly, there's been points this weekend that I was very far behind, so by the time I hit qualifying and I was fighting for pole, I was a bit more relieved.
"In the last lap he did a very good lap; I think he put together everything. At that point, you just need to congratulate and say 'good job' to the team."
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Sainz unsure if he has the pace to win from third
Looking ahead to the race, Sainz has admitted that he is not yet sure if he will have the pace to fight his teammate for the win.
The Spaniard has been behind Leclerc for much of the weekend, including during their longer race runs – crucial preparation for Sunday's 57-lap race.
He added: "I'm not entirely prepared, because the long runs that I did [in practice], I was also slow, so that's my last reference.
"I don't know if I will manage to translate the qualifying pace into race pace, so there's a bit of a question mark there for me.
"At the moment, I'm just having to think a lot while driving and it is taking quite a lot of space out of my head, because every corner I need to really understand what the car is doing, and I probably just don't exactly know what's going on.
"Overall, we managed to put ourselves back in the fight, so we will go for it!"
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