Carlos Sainz says he’s much happier with his new Formula 1 power unit after his last one appeared to be the cause of the cooling issue which plagued his 70th Anniversary Grand Prix last weekend.

The Spaniard has endured a difficult start to 2020 with a series of poor pit stops and a recent cooling issue compromising his chances of big points.

Ahead of this weekend, McLaren said it was unsure what was causing Sainz's McLaren to overheat but it appears that giving him a new engine has solved it.

Speaking after qualifying seventh at his home race, Sainz said: “New engine, new life… finally, I think we got to the end of the problem by changing the engine so happy with that. Honestly, I didn’t like the engine I had before that - both in performance and reliability was not giving us much so I am happier today.” 

Sainz believed P6 on the grid ahead of Red Bull's Alexander Albon was possible if his final sector was better.   

“Not very happy with my last sector. I think I could have sneaked a bit more performance but I don’t know why since Q1 I couldn’t improve on my last sector. I was very happy with sector one and sector two - I was flying in sector one actually but sector three for some reason never got quicker. Maybe we could have caught Albon with a cleaner sector three but P7 is still decent.”

McLaren team-mate Lando Norris qualified eighth and he says he was surprised to see his team perform so well after a difficult Friday.

“A bit surprising really,” Norris added. “I think yesterday we weren’t the most confident and we came in today and made some good improvements on the car, and looked a bit more competitive. Into qualifying, we took a little bit of a step in competitiveness. For whatever reason, I think we have a bit to try to understand, especially because we weren’t thinking these hot temperatures weren’t going to suit us as much.

“I think looking back on it, it was a good qualifying, could have been a little bit better. From my side, I made a small mistake in my final quali lap and I was one-tenth quicker on my final new set of tyres compared to my old set so a little bit disappointed I did not extract more out of them but it’s a good position for tomorrow.”

 

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