Carlos Sainz is hoping to pull off an attack from the back of the grid as he prepares to serve a heavy grid penalty at the Austrian Grand Prix after exceeding engine part limits.

The McLaren driver has taken a completely new power unit for this weekend at the Red Bull Ring and will duly start from the back of the grid after exceeding his engine allowances under current Formula 1 rules.

As a result, Sainz is bracing for effectively a pointless qualifying, as he will be demoted to the back of the grid regardless of how he performs in qualifying, but having impressed in Friday practice he’s hopeful his race pace will allow him to fight through the field. Sainz ended FP2 fifth on the timesheet and within half a second of pace-setter Charles Leclerc in the Ferrari.

“Unfortunately today I am not [smiling] because I know what is coming tomorrow,” Sainz said. “It will be quite a boring day with penalties coming but hopefully it will be a fun Sunday if we can find the pace like we had today then we can recover.”

“We are preparing the run plan, the car, everything for Sunday and I still attempted one fast lap just to see how the car feels over one lap.

“I was P2 or P3 at the time and then P5 at the end without a perfect lap so it makes it very sour to deal with it but at least we know on Sunday we might have a chance to recover.”

Last weekend Sainz finished best of the F1 midfield fighters in sixth place for McLaren at the French Grand Prix to move up to seventh on the overall F1 drivers’ championship as the best driver outside of the Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull contenders.

Sainz will be joined at the back of the grid by Toro Rosso’s Alex Albon who also picks up hefty grid penalties for exceeding his power unit allowances for the season.