Only one flying lap on ultrasofts and no long runs prior to the race
Abu Dhabi, November 26th 2016.- The third Free Practice session for the Abu Dhabi GP of Formula 1 was a tough one for Carlos Sainz and Scuderia Toro Rosso, whose mileage was notably compromised due to the issues experimented yesterday in Daniil Kvyat's car, who suffered two punctures. Today, the team carried safety-checks along the session and Carlos was only able to do one timed-lap on ultrasofts, an insufficient preparation ahead of today's Qualifying session.
The Spaniard completed just four laps on the soft tyre, the hardest available for the weekend. He pushed the boundaries and eventually broke them, as he had a spin. He returned to the pits and the team carried on its checks to ensure the safety levels of the car, and that left Carlos with less than 10 minutes to go before the chequered flag. Toro Rosso equipped his STR11 with a set of ultrasoft tyres and the driver did six laps, setting a personal best of 1'43"301 and clinching the eighteenth final position on the standings.
Carlos was positive as he got out of his car, although he admitted the toughness of this weekend because of the current technical difficulties.
"It's obvious we're going to Qualifying and the race feeling blind. I think we've done only 15 or 20 laps in the whole weekend. We're in a clear disadvantage towards our main competitors, like Haas, Renault or McLaren, but it's the final race and it's time to have fun and try to improve as much as possible", he said.
The driver is not scared, although he notices that his team is worried with its recent glitches. "When you are in the car and you are going for a flying lap, you don't even think about that. But there are worried faces within the team, as we don't know exactly what's happening. We're still seeing small contacts on the wheels, maybe that could be the issue, but this is how things are at the moment".
The FIA and its technical delegate, Jo Bauer, follow closely the team as it works to solve the issue. "Yes, the FIA looks for the safety of us the drivers and the teams, so they're always going to take the cautious decision. We have no choice but to solve the problem and do our race", Carlos concluded.
Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi GP will commence at 17:00 local time, 14:00 Spanish time. It won't be an easy one for Carlos, but we'll follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.