Carlos Sainz insists McLaren is not as close to the front of the grid as it appeared during Friday practice at the Canadian Grand Prix but praised the team’s experimental approach.
FP2 was topped by Charles Leclerc, with Sainz fourth quickest after Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen both hit the wall and didn’t set representative times. However, what was more eye-catching was that Sainz was just 0.376s off Leclerc’s time. The Spaniard admits he is encouraged by the pace but expects a different picture to emerge on Saturday.
“Obviously pretty happy with the day,” Sainz said. “I think we’ve probably had one of the best Fridays of the season, but still I don’t believe for a bit that we are fourth fastest. I think we are definitely behind the top three teams. I guess I was getting comfortable with the car but probably tomorrow will be back to reality.
“I haven’t had a chance to look at the long run. I felt as good as in the short run, so that’s good news, but as I said before I think tomorrow is going to be a bit different to today.
“As you say, the timesheets look good. Probably when we go a bit more into detail everything will look a bit more normal. But definitely the first impression is quite decent.”
With McLaren running a number of upgrades including radically changed wing mirrors, Sainz says the checklist of elements to analyze from Friday’s running is longer than usual.
“Yeah, everything is working as it should. We’ve tried some experimental stuff also on the car today. A lot of items — changing front wings, changing everything around just to try and find the optimum balance.
“There’s a lot to analyze today to see what was working well and what was not. So, happy with the team experimenting, trying stuff. It means we’re keen to move forward and that is what I want to see.”