The driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso shines in a race full of incidents
Singapore, September 17th 2017.- Carlos Sainz achieved today the best result of his Formula 1 career. The Spaniard finished fourth at the Singapore Grand Prix. The result tastes even sweeter when taken into consideration that the first part of the event was ran in wet conditions, with many incidents happening up and down the grid. Carlos scores 12 points for the Championship. He has 48 points so far, two more than in the entire 2016 season.
The Singapore Grand Prix is one of the most demanding events in the calendar, but its 2017 edition had something in store that hadn’t been seen before in a night race: Rain. Rain started before the start and compromised the strategy of all the grid, with drivers debating whether they should start on the intermediate or the full-wet tyre compound. Carlos took the brave decision to start on intermediates, a decision which later proved to be correct even though it implied a risk for the opening laps.
It was a standing start despite the weather conditions. Carlo struggled with the anti-stall system of his car, but managed to escape the chaos around him. The Race Director sent the Safety-Car out so marshals could clean the track. At that moment, Carlos was running ninth, one place ahead of his original position.
At the restart, the driver of Scuderia Toro Rosso kept his car within the white lines and defended from the cars behind him, who were on full-wet tyres. Carlos made the most out of his intermediates and in Lap 9 passed Force India’s Esteban Ocon to take the eighth place.
The track started to dry-up and soon the intermediates were the faster compound around. The cars on full-wet tyres visited the garage to pit for intermediates. Carlos took good care of his set and managed to move up to fourth, just behind Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas. The Spaniard had to defend from the cars behind, who were on fresher rubber. Even though their pace was better than the STR12, the Spaniard kept his head down and drove a flawless performance to resist in fourth.
In Lap 27, Carlos pitted for slick tyres. He was one of the first drivers to do so, and the team chose to put supersofts. No other car selected this compound, they all went for the ultrasoft. Because of this, the Spaniard’s out-lap was slower than the others and lost valuable time.
The Safety-Car reappeared twice after the incident at the start, first because of a crash from Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson and later from Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat, who lost his car into Turn 7. This compressed the grid and put Carlos in a delicate situation, since he knew he would be under attack from the cars behind him.
After technical difficulties in Nico Hülkenberg’s car, Carlos returned to the fourth place. The road to the chequered flag wouldn’t be an easy one, with Sergio Perez attacking in the back-straight using the DRS and his softer Pirelli tyres. The Mexican tried two overtaking manoeuvres into Turn 7, but the Spaniard succeeded in his defence. As his tyres reached its working temperature, he picked-up his pace and created a gap to the Force India, securing an extraordinary fourth place.
For the Spaniard, today’s fourth place represents his best result ever in Formula 1. His previous record was a P6, reached in Spain 2016, USA 2016, Brazil 2016 and Monaco 2017. On top of that, he scores 12 points for the Drivers’ Championship, where he now has a total of 48, two more than in the entire 2016 season. With seven races to go, Carlos is a single point away from Toro Rosso’s all-time record.
Carlos couldn’t hide his happiness as he returned to the paddock. "First, I would like to thank my team. We’ve earned this result with our effort. We’ve done what we had to do. We’ve been through some tough moments, like when my rivals were on fresher intermediates and mine were worn-out, or when they attacked on ultrasofts while I was on supersofts. Still, we defended from cars that were a second-per-lap quicker than us and we’ve finished in fourth place. It is incredible, unthinkable. Today is a very important day, one of the most important days in my professional career. We can be really happy about it, so let’s celebrate".
"It was an eventful race. It all started with the rain… We chose the right strategy. When I was told that Hamilton was in inters, I felt more confident. We passed Ocon and then our race began. It was more difficult than what it may look from the afar, because I had Perez behind on ultrasofts and Hülkenberg. I’ve been checking my mirrors the entire race, trying to stay away from trouble. I knew their pace was better, but we still finished ahead".
Carlos’ beaten his 2016 statistics and he is happy about that. "The year has been really good so far, mainly because we seize our opportunities. Like today. Whenever a crazy race arises, you must seize it. That’s what we did today. Maybe it is what we didn’t do a couple years ago, maybe that’s why we are scoring more points now".
Carlos Sainz and the whole Formula 1 family will return to Europe now before travelling to Kuala Lumpur, home to the next round in the calendar: the Malaysian Grand Prix. Practice will be on September 29th and 30th, while the Grand Prix will hold on October 1st. As always, we will keep you updated on Carlos via his official website www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.