McLaren has confirmed that Carlos Sainz suffered a rear brake failure which caused his spin and stoppage during qualifying for Formula 1’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

Sainz spun at the end of the main straight during his first flying lap of Q2 in Sakhir when his rear wheels suddenly locked as he hit the brakes for Turn 1.

The Spaniard’s car stopped at the edge of the track and he was unable to get going again, resulting in qualifying being disrupted by a red flag period.

After conducting an immediate investigation into the issue after qualifying, McLaren diagnosed the problem to be a rear brake failure.

“You obviously get out there at 300kph and you hit the brakes and suddenly the rear brakes locked completely,” said Sainz as he explained his qualifying-ending incident.

“I don’t know really what happened, we don’t know what really is the cause of the problem, but I’m very disappointed. I had just got through Q1 with only one set of tyres, I had just saved some Softs for later in the qualifying.

“That set of Mediums, it’s so important for this weekend and it looks like it is completely flat-spotted and I’m not going to be able to use it for the race. It looks fairly destroyed. So I’m very disappointed.”

It marks a blow in McLaren’s hopes of closing the gap in the battle over third place in the constructors’ championship, with its nearest rivals all progressing into Q3 and securing strong grid positions while Lando Norris could only manage ninth.

And Sainz fears his race could now be compromised as a result of ruining the set of Medium tyres McLaren was planning to use on Sunday.

“There’s pace in the car, no doubt about that and I felt really, really at home the whole weekend,” Sainz said.

“The problem is the strategic options available for us with the tyres we’ve got, we’ve been trying to save those harder set of tyres for the race and at the moment I don’t know what I’m going to have available tomorrow with the problems I’ve had today.

“For us to have that problem with the Medium tyre flat-spotted and lose it probably for the race is worst possible scenario.”

 

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