Carlos Sainz saw his hopes of a home Spanish Grand Prix pole position evaporate on Saturday with Ferrari's lack of pace leaving him and team mate Charles Leclerc on the third row of the grid.

Ferrari are the only team to have had both drivers win races this season and car upgrades had spurred talk of returning to the top of the podium after a double retirement in Canada two weeks ago.

Sainz had been second fastest in Friday practice and quickest in Saturday's final session before qualifying.

"I thought after practice we would be in the fight for pole but very quickly in Q2 when everyone turned everything up, it was clear we were lacking two tenths," said the Spaniard, winner in Australia in March.

"Two tenths around here is a lot of lap time, I did two decent laps, Charles did two very good laps also. I don't think we could have done much more today."

Leclerc, winner of his home race in Monaco, was also disappointed.

"We were further from pole than we expected," he said.

"On the other hand, my team and I did a good job changing the set-up of the car completely from yesterday to today, which helped me to find the right feeling again. However, the pace just was not there."

Team boss Fred Vasseur said the podium remained a possibility.

"I’m confident it will be possible to have a solid comeback from the third row. We decided to save one set of soft tyres with both drivers for tomorrow and we’ll see if this will give us an advantage," said the Frenchman.

"We know it will be a very tight fight until the end of the season, with ups and downs and so our target must be to always score points. A plausible target for tomorrow? The podium."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Pritha Sarkar)