Long runs and qualifying simulation for the Spaniard
Manama, April 2nd 2016.- The third and last Free Practice session for the Bahrain GP finished with Carlos Sainz on 16th place. His times, though, can't be compared to his rivals' as Toro Rosso saved the supersoft compound for Qualifying and instead chose to work only with the soft one.
With higher temperatures than yesterday –air 24 degrees, track 34 degrees–, Carlos used just two sets of tyres. With the first one he did a long stint, as he was on the compound that will probably be the most appropriate one for tomorrow's race. Yesterday he had already run with a full tank, but on mediums.
Today on softs he reached the 15-lap mark and that brought his race preparations to a close.
Team chose then to change its focus and prepare the car for Qualifying. They gave Carlos a second set of soft tyres to save supersofts for Qualifying and he went for a 1'34''003, fast enough to be on 16th place just behind his teammate Max Verstappen. The other team that used softs for his qualifying simulation, Force India, did worse than Toro Rosso.
After stepping out of the car, Carlos explained the new Qualifying system affects teams' strategies as they had already decided their tyre allocation before the announcement of the new format: "Obviously we chose our tyres without considering the new qualifying, so we've had to save a set of supersofts because otherwise we wouldn't have enough for qualifying", he said to televisions.
Mid-grid will be competitive today, but Carlos remains optimistic. "We've done all we could on softs, so let's see how we go on Qualifying. As a driver, to be in Q3 is always good, but I'd rather start eighth or seventh than ninth. Q3 is like getting Pole Position for Toro Rosso, so let's see if we can make it there."
Qualifying for the Bahrain GP will start at 17:00 (CET).