Carlos Sainz expects a costly engine issue in FP1 is “going to hurt further into the weekend” at the Monaco Grand Prix after being put behind his rivals early on.

The McLaren driver effectively missed all of the opening practice session with a power unit problem, which saw his energy store component switched during the session, to leave him with just four laps completed.

Despite attempting to make up for lost mileage in FP2, with 47 laps notched up in the afternoon session, Sainz accepts his confidence and rhythm at the tight and twisty Monte Carlo circuit could cost him in qualifying and the race trying to extract maximum performance from his McLaren.

“Monaco is the last place you want to miss FP1 and standstill for one and a half hours while the others get laps on you,” Sainz said.

“I am 30 or 40 laps behind, but the mechanics did a brilliant job to get me back out on track right at the end to get an installation lap, but those 30 or 40 laps that I am behind are going to hurt further into the weekend. Hopefully we can recover little by little.”

Sainz ended the practice day in 13th place, just 0.026s slower than teammate Lando Norris, but hopes McLaren can find vital gains ahead of Saturday’s qualifying to make the jump into the top 10 with the midfield tightly contested on the times.

Just over one second splits Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel who third place on the times down to Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault in 17th place in FP2.

“On one side it looks difficult as we haven’t been in the top 10 or Lando hasn’t been in the top 10 in FP1 or FP2,” he said. “But at the same time if it is close, and it is pretty close, we could be up there.

“As soon as we get my confidence up and my lap mileage up maybe all of sudden we can turn up a bit of pace.”

 

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