He encountered several issues along the race
Mexico City, October 30th 2016.- The Autodromo Hermanos Rodríguez was home today to the Mexico GP. With over 120.000 people in the grandstands and an electrifying atmosphere in the air, the race promised to be a great show. But sadly it wasn’t a fun one for Carlos Sainz, who saw the chequered flag in sixteenth place after facing several setbacks along the way, mainly from the technical and strategic points of view.
At the start, Carlos took off well from the fifth row and held on to his tenth position, despite his lack of Top Speed. But in Turn 3, the Toro Rosso cornered using all the space available without noticing that Fernando Alonso was approaching using the outside line. That incident was later investigated. The marshals gave Carlos a five-second penalty, which would be added to his final result.
But despite this maneuver, truth is Carlos’ car suffered technical glitches from the very early stages. Its gearbox didn’t downshift as it should and that forced Carlos to use more his rear-tyres. The only solution to handle the subsequent overheating was to move the braking bias to the front end, but that was indeed far from ideal for the driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso. On top of that, he lost 10 downforce points due to damage on his front-wing.
In Lap 16, the team called him in when he was running tenth. He changed from supersofts to mediums. They would last for an epic 58-lap stint. He was one of the very few drivers to follow such a strategy. But the Toro Rosso is known to struggle when working with the white compound, and that obliged Carlos to lap at a pace that was far from being as good as the one of the leaders.
The five-second penalty didn’t help and neither did the incident he encountered in Lap 50. Max Verstappen ran wide while fighting Nico Rosberg and returned to the track, forcing Carlos –who was lapped- to change his direction to avoid a collision. Jenson Button saw the opportunity and overtook the Spaniard in that maneuver.
He crossed the line in fifteenth place, but the penalty dropped him to the sixteenth one. Carlos still managed to be the first Toro Rosso and finished two positions higher than his team-mate.
After getting out his car, the Spaniard analyzed his race and the technical problems that compromised it.
“We had all sorts of problems from the very beginning. Brake problems, gearbox problems... I knew it would be a tough race, but if you take that lack of rhythm, a one stopper strategy which was almost impossible… The truth is things turned against us and we were left a bit behind".
"All sorts of things happened to us. We suffered with the gearbox. It didn't handle the speeds correctly when downshifting. Because of that, your rear tyres overheat and you have to move the brake bias to the front. In the end we were losing half a second per lap. Difficult race".
Talking about the Fernando Alonso incident on the opening lap, Carlos explained he hadn’t had a chance to take a look at it. He explained he didn’t see his car.
"I still don't know what happened. But it must have been at the start. I saw him late. I think he had to go over the grass. These things happen at the start, there's no room for all of us. When I was back at the straight I checked my mirrors and I saw Fernando running on the grass. I don't know what happened", the Spaniard concluded.
Formula 1 will take now a short break and Carlos will travel back to Europe to work with his team before going again to America, this time to Sau Paulo, for the Brazilian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the 2016 season. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.