Sainz falls short and Alonso disappoints

Carlos Sainz, during qualifying for the Spanish GP. / ep

Spanish GP

Charles Leclerc added his fourth pole in six races and will start ahead of Max Verstappen and his partner, who tried until the end

If whoever does well in Barcelona does well the rest of the year, it can be said that Charles Leclerc is in a position to proclaim himself world champion. Not only because of the pole he achieved, which is already the fourth of the six possible, but because of how he did it. The Monegasque turns around when he should, and that was clear on a Saturday that began with great disappointment for the thousands of fans in the stands.

And it is that in Q1 was eliminated, among others, Fernando Alonso. The Asturian driver blamed a misunderstanding with his team's radio for leaving in traffic to make his lap good, but the truth is that the innovations that Alpine has brought to this circuit are not being entirely optimal. Already in the third free practice they threw themselves for a while adapting the front wing, but in qualifying they were not entirely comfortable. Alonso did not get past 17th position but his teammate Esteban Ocon crossed into Q2 in a very fair 15th by very little.

The performance of the A522 under the intense heat that is devastating the Barcelona circuit these days is only part of what explains the situation. «Since free practice 3 we were not very fast. We have a different piece in the car, which this weekend was my partner's turn. And I think it has been noticed, that there was a bit of a lack of rhythm”, Alonso confessed.

With the fans, mostly with Alonso, already somewhat disappointed, they turned to see what Carlos Sainz could do. The man from Madrid had a golden opportunity to try to prove that sooner or later his pole position will come. Although he showed that he had pace, when push came to shove he fell short. In Q3 came the critical moment. Leclerc made a huge mistake when he was facing his first fast lap attempt, which left him with no margin: he had to do a good lap on the only lap he was going to have available.

Leclerc did it in a big way… and with a bit of luck. Max Verstappen was the only real rival he could have for pole, and the Dutchman ran out of power as he headed into the third corner of the Spanish track. Suddenly, the Honda engine (officially Red Bull Powertrains) became limited in revolutions, which already prevented it from improving in the rest of the lap. Carlos Sainz's option was also ruled out, because he did not improve the previous time, so it was all to see if Leclerc could do his best to add another pole… and he did. The Monegasque is in a sweet moment.

high aspirations

Does this mean that Carlos Sainz has no options? Not much less. In fact, the man from Madrid is clear about the plan to follow. “Tomorrow anything is possible, we will certainly do everything we can to overtake at the start and lead from there. It wasn't an ideal qualifying, because I couldn't do a good lap on the used tyre. That new tire will be missing for the first race stint, but anything can happen and we will do our best," promised the Spaniard.

Sainz has always scored points in his participation in the Spanish GP, but now he cannot opt ​​for anything other than a podium at least. The Ferrari man from Madrid has to be clear about his primary objective, and that is to help his teammate Leclerc to hold on to victory. If he manages to hold Verstappen he will have already delivered, although he wants to be ahead of both of them. The conditions are many, starting with the intense heat that he is going to do. The durability of the tires will be put to the test, so it is likely that the hard tires will see more laps than expected. This plays against the spectacle, but from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya you cannot expect much more.

However, let no one lose the rage with which Alonso is going to start from 17th place. It is far from the desired place, since he opted for a relatively comfortable top-10, but if he has shown something throughout history, it is that he is not afraid of driving with a smaller car. For that they will have to be attentive also on the Alpine wall and not make a resounding mistake.

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