Yellow flags prevent the Spaniard from exploiting the full potential within his STR12
Baku, June 23rd 2017.- Carlos Sainz was the thirteenth fastest driver overall in the second Free Practice session for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where the Spaniard completed 34 laps and finished the afternoon as one of the most active drivers around in his pursuit to recover the lack of mileage suffered earlier in Free Practice 1. His fastest lap, 1:45.733, was 1’8 seconds quicker than the one achieved in the morning and placed him 2’3 seconds behind the leaders.
The main goal of today’s afternoon was to keep the car within the lines, since the lack of grip of the Baku City Circuit proved a nightmare for many drivers, with many mistakes under breaking and even some crashes against the wall. Carlos kept his STR12 in one piece, and only occasionally visited a run-off area while seeking the limits of the circuit.
While the morning had been dedicated to aerodynamic work, the driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso wanted to maximize his track-time in the afternoon the make up for the lost time and gain more confidence in the set-up of his car, which sacrifices cornering speed to enjoy a higher Top Speed in straight line. His car was so low on downforce that it was able to reach up to 345 kilometres/hour.
Shortly after the green flag, Carlos left the pits on a set of soft tyres to perform an opening stint of 12 laps. His fastest lap was 1:45.801. Later, he moved to the supersofts. He started with a five-lap run, followed by another one that lasted for another ten laps until he returned to the pits due to a red flag caused by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer. He was supposed to achieve his fastest lap of the day in his early supersoft stints, but the yellow flags he encountered along the way made it impossible for him to put a perfect lap together.
When the green flag was waved once again, Carlos picked-up the very same set of supersoft tyres to perform a final seven-lap run. He improved to 1:45.733. The difference between his soft and supersoft flying laps was barely one tenth of a second, although these numbers are not representative since values such as tyre-wear made it impossible to draw any valid conclusions.
While talking about the day, Carlos insisted that it was not feasible to make any conclusions due to the many yellow flags he found on track. "In Free Practice 1 we had a lot of problems with the balance, we didn’t really get it right straightaway so it meant we had to do some big changes for Free Practice 2. On FP2 I was a lot more comfortable with the car, but I couldn’t exploit it due to the traffic situation and the yellow laps. In the end, I did fifteen or twenty laps on supersofts and I didn’t manage to push one. For tomorrow, now everyone is more or less in the same situation of me. It’s hard to judge where everyone is. I expected we get a lot better tomorrow as soon as we put a lap together with the supersoft, but it is the same for everyone. It is a question mark".
The Azerbaijan Grand Prix will continue tomorrow Saturday with the third and final Free Practice session, which will be held at 14:00 local time (12:00 Spanish time). Qualifying will follow at 17:00, 15:00 Spanish time. As always, we will follow Carlos’ steps closely via his official website www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.