Lots of mileage and very few problems for the Spaniard of Scuderia Toro Rosso
Sepang, September 30th 2016.- The second Free Practice session for the Malaysia GP reached its closure with Carlos Sainz in the eleventh place of the standings, just a tenth of a second away from the Top 10. This result fuels the Spaniard's expectations to fight for a spot in Q3 tomorrow. The result also showcases how good the Toro Rosso STR11 chassis is and the lack of Top Speed that it is suffering.
Just as the morning session, meteorological conditions were very warm for the afternoon one. Air temperature was at 35 degrees while the track was at 58, just the usual tropical heat that has been seen here in previous years. Carlos worked with two sets of tyres, one of the hard compound and the other one of the soft one. With the harder one, he completed a five-lap run. He completed another three laps on it afterwards after a short visit to the pits. Up next, he picked up the soft option to clock his first performance run of the day. It was in the first of the four laps of that stint that he set what would become his fastest time of the day, a 1’36”846.
With that reference time in mind, the Spaniard returned to the pits as the team prepared the STR11 for the long runs. Carlos kept the soft tyres for a 14-lap stint, his pace being always around the 1'41 mark. Finally, he returned to the initial set of hard tyres for a final four lap run, which was trouble free despite a temporary failure of its brake-by-wire.
In total, the Spaniard completed 30 laps during the 90 minute session. He made the most out of the available time to test different configurations on his car, including a new rear wing which is expected to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the whole package.
His final time was faster than last year’s 1’42”291 by more than five seconds. The cause of that improvement, aside from the development of the car itself, is the resurfacement of the track, which has gained grip, and also the extra work that has been put into the STR11 to adjust it to the conditions of the new track.
After jumping out of his car, Carlos was fairly optimistic. "It was fine, a normal Friday. In fact, I think it's been a very interesting day for us here today. The fact that the track has been resurfaced means it's like being at a new track – we've been around three seconds quicker already compared to last year and it's still only free practice. It's definitely being a new challenge, with faster lap times, and I have to say that the car feels amazing to drive as there's a lot of grip out there, so I'm enjoying it! Now we need to work towards tomorrow. As expected, we are not as strong as in Singapore, but also not as bad as in Monza or Spa, so I look forward to the rest of the weekend. We know that when Force India and Williams switch to the real engine map, they are ahead on Saturdays as we fall back. McLaren is also faster than us on a single lap, though in race conditions they're closer. For now, points look very, very difficult, but in Malaysia things can happen so let's see if that makes our life easier. It's nice to be battling with the rest of the midfield... We will keep fighting!".
"It's important because this track is very similar to the upcoming ones, it's got long straights and fast corners, and that suits us. The following circuits, like Mexico, Austin or Suzuka... They will be a good reference point to check our situation for the remaining part of the season".
Tomorrow action will resume with the third and final Free Practice session for the Malaysia Grand Prix, which will begin at 08:00 Spanish time. It will be the prologue to the Qualifying session and we will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.