Sainz out-qualified Leclerc for the first time since joining the team, with the Spaniard set to start Sunday’s race from fifth on the grid.

Sainz revealed he has been forced to adjust his driving style for this weekend’s race at Portimao and feels he is reaping the benefits from his change in approach.

“Yes, the important thing today is that I did it twice in tricky conditions,” Sainz said. “Today it was very, very tough, you guys cannot imagine how the cars were so unpredictable and difficult to drive in the last sector, and the fact that I did a couple of good laps in Q3 gives me a good feeling.



“We’ve made some progress with my driving style. I tried to drive a little bit different this weekend, I’ve tried also different things on the set-up, I’ve gone back and forth with it recently, and it has given me a better feeling. I’m feeling like I’m making progress, but there are still things to discover, I’m sure.”

Teammate Charles Leclerc could only manage eighth in qualifying, his worst result of the season having qualified fourth in the first two races.

Leclerc admited he simply wasn’t driving well enough in the tricky, windy conditions at Portimao.

“I’ve just not been good enough in those conditions,” Leclerc added. “There was a lot of wind and I struggled to be very consistent. I’ve done a very good lap on the medium tyres in Q2 but then in Q1, I was all over the place, Q2 the first run wasn’t great, third run no laps were very good.

“Very difficult to make the lap but that’s no excuse. I should just have done a better job.”