It is his best result ever in the Albert Park; he believes in his team’s development through the season
Melbourne, March 26th 2017.- First race of the season and first points of the year for Carlos Sainz. The Australian Grand Prix came to an end with a solid performance by the Spaniard, who finished eighth and achieved his best result ever in this circuit as he kicks-off the 2017 Championship feeling quietly optimistic. Now he is fully focused on the future development of Scuderia Toro Rosso.
Carlos started eighth and held on to his position in the race-start, despite being on the dirty side of the grid. The Spaniard was eighth throughout his first stint as he chased down Romain Grosjean for a better prize. In Lap 13, he climbed up to seventh as Grosjean retired with technical difficulties in his car.
Tyre-wear, which is much weaker than in 2016, promised a one-stop race and the expectations proved to be true as the event progressed. Carlos visited the pits in Lap 19 and moved from ultrasofts to softs, the most conservative compound brought by Pirelli to Melbourne. Carlos stopped early to protect himself of the undercut of Sergio Perez. He managed to do so, but the Mexican was on warmer tyres as he had stopped one lap earlier and had the edge as he overtook Carlos in the braking zone into Turn 3. He was also helped by the higher Top Speed of his Force India. Carlos was eighth again.
In the last phase of the Grand Prix, Carlos’ race engineer asked him to swap positions with Daniil Kvyat so his teammate could try to overtake Perez. He was on a different race strategy, on supersoft tyres. The Spaniard accepted because Kvyat would return him his position if he failed to pass the Force India. In the end, the Russian had to stop again and Carlos moved up again to eighth. He would hold that position until the chequered flag.
In the final laps, the Spaniard fought and tried to overtake the Force India but he ran out of time. When Carlos let Daniil pass, he was also overtaken by the two Mercedes, who were on the leading lap. The STR12 lost tyre-temperature and it was hard to return the tyres to their sweet spot. It may have been what Carlos could have needed to finish the race in seventh, although an eighth place is still a very good result to start the 2017 season.
Carlos gave a positive recap of today’s race as he got out of his car.
“I am happy with this result. An eighth place is a good foundation from where we can build our season upon. It is also good for the team, because my teammate finished behind me and scored more points for Toro Rosso. The race was quite strange. We did a good start. We were P8 first, then P7 when Grosjean retired. We stopped and rejoined in front of Perez, who tried to undercut us. He passed us thanks to his Top Speed. The team reacted to the undercut, so we pitted very early. Seeing what our rivals did, maybe the ultrasoft tyres could have lasted a lot longer than we thought. We split strategies within the team and probably I got the slower one, but I managed my soft tyres and I could attack Perez in the end”.
He also discovered how the 2017 cars behave over the course of a race distance. “It was a lot tougher than last year, because we can push more. Degradation is different and the cars are much faster in race pace. But it was much more enjoyable and for me it is a good sign that I did my fastest lap two laps before the end. That means we did our homework. Now we will go through the data and see where we can find improvements. We only think about improving and developing through the year”, he concluded.
There is no Formula 1 race next week, but there will on the one after as teams make their way to Shanghai for the Chinese GPFree Practice will begin un April 7th. As usual, we will follow Carlos closely via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo