The winner of the Silverstone race already faced a 10-place grid drop over the weekend for a change in control electronics, before Ferrari opted to change more power unit elements – triggering a back-of-the-grid start for Sunday’s race.
This follows his fiery exit from the Austrian GP two weeks ago.
As a result, Sainz was sent to qualifying at Paul Ricard with the aim of moving into Q3 to help teammate Charles Leclerc take pole by offering him a drag on the back straight – which he executed perfectly.
But after surpassing Q2 and being strong all weekend, Sainz feels that “the pace was there this weekend to go for pole”.
“It’s a shame it has to come on a weekend when I probably feel best with the car and I got through yesterday’s practice very quickly,” Sainz said.
“Today in qualifying I think my Q2 lap was there but yeah, happy for the team, happy to see Charles take advantage and take pole. Now it’s time for me to move forward again tomorrow.
“I know I definitely helped, and I think the team is quite happy with the way I’ve done it and the way we’ve performed it as a team.
“It’s frustrating because the pace this weekend was there to go for pole on my side as well, but we took the penalty and we hope we can get through. [the field].”
Carlos Sainz, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Sainz explains why he believes this weekend was his best of the season yet, saying it is the result of the “little things” he has found with the car since its low at its home race in Barcelona.
“Monaco, Baku, Canada I was up there fighting for the win; Silverstone I won; Austria on pace I was neck and neck with Charles – and here [I’m level too],” he said.
“At least I felt really fast, so it just shows that the progress is paying off and I’m getting there.”
Looking ahead to what to expect from the race from the back of the grid, Sainz admits he will be conditioned by how the wind will affect his car and how his tires rise when he follows other cars.
“Yes, a lot of tailwind on the two main straights, where the overtaking takes place,” he said.
“That means the DRS effect and drag is minimal because the wind is pushing you.
“So it’s hard to get through. Also, overheating the tires when following a car in front of you isn’t easy, but I’ll do my best.
“It has been shown this year. Charles in Canada [when he stormed from the back to fifth], it wasn’t easy to get through the field, it gets to a point where you need a lot of pace delta to overtake. But I will do my best.”