Sainz and Norris feeling confident despite 'tricky' qualifying

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) McLaren MCL35.
ยฉ XPB 

McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris were both feeling buoyed up after doing as well as they could have hoped for in a 'tricky' qualifying session for the team.

Sainz will line up in sixth place for tomorrow's Russian Grand Prix with Lando Norris right behind him on the grid in eighth. Each will be paired up with a car from the rival Renault squad.

โ€œIโ€™m very happy with P6 today after a challenging session for us," said Sainz, who will be alongside Daniel Ricciardo when the lights do out in Sunday.

"We were encouraged after our FP3 pace but, as soon as qualifying started, we saw that the wind conditions and track temperature had changed, which compromised our car balance.

"Nonetheless, I managed to put in good laps from the first run in Q1, saving a new set for Q3, and putting together all sectors on my last attempt to grab P6 for tomorrow.

"Itโ€™s a good starting position for the race so now we need to make sure we finish the job tomorrow.โ€

As for Norris, he will be battling with Esteban Ocon at the start. Both McLarens are on the 'even numbered' side of the grid which is expected to be at a disadvantage, as it's off the racing line with more dirt and less grip.

โ€œIt was a messy qualifying with the red flag and traffic on my laps, so it was tricky," said Norris. "But the car had good pace and I felt pretty confident in it.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35 and Lance Stroll (CDN) Racing Point F1 Team RP20 in the pits.

"I just didnโ€™t have two sets of new tyres in the final quali and it made my life a bit more difficult. Iโ€™m still happy, I donโ€™t think P8โ€™s terrible. It was close, so I donโ€™t think I couldโ€™ve done miles better.โ€

Team principal Andreas Seidl agreed that it had been "a challenging qualifying" but took heart from both cars making it to the final round of qualifying and starting comfortably in the top ten.

"The team, together with the drivers, worked very hard last night to make further improvements to the car," he said. "That helped us look very strong in FP3.

"As the afternoon went on, and the ambient conditions changed, it looked like we lost a little bit of that performance when compared with our main competitors.

"[But] P6 and P8 are good starting positions tomorrow and will let us fight for good points. Weโ€™re looking forward to an exciting Russian Grand Prix.โ€

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