Carlos Sainz says it was Ferrari’s plan for him to help Charles Leclerc in qualifying throughout the French Grand Prix weekend, after giving his teammate a tow in Q3.
Leclerc took pole position after Sainz twice ran in front of him on the back straight towards Signes, sacrificing his own laps in the process as he has a grid penalty for exceeding power unit components.
The plan helped Leclerc comfortably beat the two Red Bull drivers and Sainz says he feels like he played a role in the pole position even if he has to start from P19 himself.
“Yeah, the target was to get to Q3 to give Charles the tow two times as we did,” Sainz said. “So, it was the plan for the whole weekend. I know how to give a good tow because I know what I need in my qualy lap if I wanted to gain two, three tenths from a tow. So I knew what to do from the beginning and I think we executed it nicely.
“It’s a shame it has to come on a weekend that I’m probably feeling the best with the car and I’ve been very quick through yesterday’s practice. Today in qualy, I think my Q2 lap was up there.
“But yeah, happy for the team, happy to see Charles profiting from it and getting the pole. Now it’s time for me to get back to the front tomorrow.
“I know I helped for sure and I think the team is pretty happy about the way I did it, and the way we executed it as a team. It’s frustrating because the pace this weekend was there to go for pole also on my side. But we took the penalty and we hope that we can get through.”
Despite the pace he was able to show on Saturday, Sainz believes the conditions are going to be against him on Sunday when he needs to do a lot of overtaking.
“[There will be] a lot of tailwind on the two main straights, which is where the overtakes happen. That means the DRS effect and the tow is minimal because the wind is pushing you. So, it’s difficult to make it through.
“Also overheating the tires when following a car in front of you is not easy, but I will try my best. It’s been shown this year. Charles in Canada, it was not easy to make it through the field, it gets to a point where you need a lot of pace delta to overtake. But I’m going to try my best.”