Sad end to a hard-fought race and a great season for the driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso
Abu Dhabi, November 27th 2016.- The 2016 Formula 1 season came to an end today with the chequered flag of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. They were over 6.500 kilometers of racing across 21 ountries and 4 different continents, and for Carlos Sainz this has turned to be his best-ever year in the series, with better results and realiability, and also more signs of the talent he started to show in his rookie Championship. Carlos says farewell to 2016 with 46 points and great expectations for the season ahead. He also tied Toro Rosso’s record for the best place finish in the Drivers’ Championship.
Today Carlos showed his inner strength despite the tough conditions he encountered in the race, until a mistake by another car caused damage to Carlos’ car rear-end. The gear-box was compromised and in the end he was forced to retire.
The Spaniard started from P21 after a Qualifying in which he was not able to fight in normal conditions due to the lack of mileage experienced on Friday and the changes made to the ste-up. In the early stages of the event, he overtook Wehrlein’s Manor and went pas Magnussen’s Renault. He gained a lot with his first pit-stop and raced ahead of Nasr’s Sauber. Carlos had serious difficulties to overtake in the straights, where he suffered from the recurrent lack of Top Speed of his car, but thanks to his solid pace, a couple maneuvers in Turn 7 and the retirement of other cars, was able to climb up to P13.
To make it that far, he had to pass on track Jolyon Palmer’s Renault. But shortly after succeeding at it, the leaders came around to lap both cars. Carlos moved aside to give the Championship contenders free room, but Palmer missed his braking point and struck the rear-end of the STR11. The car was pushed out of the car. Carlos rejoined, but his gear-box was heavily damaged. He had to retire. A great shame judging by his rapid progression in the race, despite the problems encountered earlier in the weekend.
After getting out of his STR11, Carlos made a positive lecture of the Grand Prix despite its bitter ending. "I think it was a positive race. We were P14 and even P13 before the crash, so from P21 we overtook the Manors, the Saubers and the Renaults. It was a clean race, a good one. A little bit in the shadows, but still good. It's a shame we had that collision later, but this is racing".
"Points were out of the equation, but before the race we didn't know if we would have better pace than Manor and Sauber and then suddenly we were fighting the Renaults and the Haas. We were quite motivated and the team was quite carried away with it, so when we got hit it was like 'what a shame'. It was being a fun race, with a lot of fight in the back".
Carlos said a few words for his team and its effort to solve the technical difficulties. "Good work by the team to solve the issues. It was a difficult weekend but we managed to stay ahead of the Renaults up until we retired, and ahead of the Saubers and the Manors... without any mileage, so we can be happy with that".
This is how Toro Rosso solved the punctures experienced in their cars, the driver explained: "We cleared all the things that could possibly hit or have any kind of friction with the tyre. The team did everything it could. We lost a bit of performance with that, but that ensured our safety and our presence on track".
Carlos' race was over due to a hit by Jolyon Palmer. "I managed to pass him in Turn 7, it was quite a good move. Then we had to let the leaders go by, but then he lost control of his car braking into Turn 17 and he caught me. I started having gearbox issues from then on. I don't know if it was related to the hit or not, but clearly there was something wrong after that".
The issues of this weekend have harmed his Top Speed, so the Spaniard 'invented' another strategy to overtake. "I did all my moves into Turn 7, and that's because I couldn't overtake in the straights. Yesterday we were 5 kilometers/hour down my teammate, we didn't know what was happening, and today it was a tough race because we couldn't clear the cars in front with the DRS. Everything had to be done in Turn 7".
Finally, he said a few words for the new World Champion Nico Rosberg. "I congratulate him. I think he deserves the world title. What he has done against one of the bests in history, to win such a talented man like him, to be so consistent, win so many races and grab so many Poles.... He did what he need to do, so congratulations. He can feel really proud for this".
Today starts the preparation for the next Formula 1 season. It will be Carlos’ third in the series and he will be behind the wheel of a Toro Rosso. Keep an eye at our website www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo to read all his news.