Quick and trouble free Qualifying despite two Red Flags
Shanghai, April 16th 2016.- Carlos Sainz conquered the eighth place of the Starting Grid for the Chinese Grand Prix after a chaotic Qualifying session that included two red flags and a wet track in the beginning, though rain did not make an appearance. The Spaniard will be in the fourth row and aims for points in tomorrow's race.
Though rain was expected for Qualifying, forecasts proved to be wrong and there were only a few puddles from the shower that had fell previously during Free Practice 3. Because of this meteorological scenario, Carlos went out on track using a lower-drag rear wing he had not ran in FP3.
In the first part of Qualifying, Q1, Carlos did not have any problems even though action had to be stopped because Pascal Wehrlein went off in the main straight. With a 1'37''656 as his personal best, the Spaniard secured fifth place and a spot in the following round.
In Q2, Carlos set a good time in his first timed lap, a 1'37''204. He could have improved it to grant his access to Q3, but it was not necessary because in the end there was a red flag caused by Nico Hülkenberg, who lost a wheel in the second sector. Track activity could not be restarted as there was not time enough on the clock for drivers to complete a full lap and start a timed one.
In Q3, Carlos started on a set of used Supersofts and later improved again his time to finish the day with a 1'36''881 that gave him the eighth place, in front of his teammate Max Verstappen.
These were Carlos' first thoughts after stepping out of the STR11:
"I'm very happy with how today went, we couldn't have done more. I've felt comfortable in the car throughout Qualifying and I've been doing laps non-stop, so I couldn't ask for more. We are where we expected to be. I would have preferred to be even higher, but teams like Mercedes, Williams or Force India use more power as the session goes on and we moved a little backwards. Anyway, I'm really happy!"
He also talked about the aerodynamics his car and the last minute changes: "We thought it would be a dump track, so in the end we had to change the rear wing prior to Qualifying. We used the one from yesterday. It was a good decision, thought it was not easy to make because we had been working with the other one. But I'm happy; I've adjusted myself quickly to it".
Strategy-wise, Sunday will be a complicated day. "It's going to be a difficult race with many pit-stops. We'll see many teams that will try to do it in two stops, others will do three. Medium tyres don't go wrong, it's a possibility. Supersofts perform really well, but their wear is very high. We are still thinking about our strategy".
Race will begin tomorrow at 08:00 Spanish Time, 14:00 local time in Shanghai.