Mar 24, 2017

Carlos Sainz clinches encouraging P7 in Free Practice 2 at Australian GP

He completes 34 laps using the supersoft and the ultrasoft compounds

Melbourne, March 24th 2017.- Free Practice 2 for the Australian Grand Prix went underway today in Melbourne and Carlos Sainz finished in seventh place thanks to a 1’25”084 lap. He completed 34 laps around the circuit. Although it is still too early to make any conclusions, the good news is that the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver was able to work on his set-up without suffering any technical set-backs.

Temperatures were fairly similar to the ones seen in the morning session. The air was at 22ºC and the asphalt ranged from 28ºC to 31ºC. Wind speeds were low. Teams could focus on optimizing their packages and, in Carlos’ case, on working with the supersoft and the ultrasoft Pirelli tyres, which are likely to be the two main compounds for the weekend.

The Spaniard began with a 5-lap run on supersofts before moving on to ultrasofts, setting his fastest lap of the day despite encountering traffic in the third and final sector. He drove through the pits to practice a race-start and then kicked-off a 12-lap stint on those very same tyres, lapping at a pace between 1:28 and 1:29. In the end, he returned to his initial set of supersofts and wrapped-up the day with another five laps to bring the final number up to 34.

As he jumped out of his car, Carlos felt positive yet cautious about the event ahead. "A positive way to start the first race weekend of the season here in Australia. We were able to follow our programme, without suffering any issues, which was the main target for today. We were able to keep learning and pick up from where we left in testing, so it was definitely a positive Friday. This doesn't mean that we can now relax, as things usually get a bit more complicated on Saturdays, but it's a good start. We now need to keep focused and finding lap time in the car".

The performance jump compared to 2016 is remarkable: “You can really feel that this new generation of car is much faster than last year. I've done the fastest lap of my life around Melbourne this afternoon, and it's only the second practice session! We still have more margin for improvement, but it's already been very exciting to drive our new STR12".

Track action will resume tomorrow as the Albert Park welcomes the third and final Free Practice session of the Australian Grand Prix. It will begin at 14:00 local time (04:00 CET). Qualifying will be held at 17:00 (07:00 CET).