Apr 29, 2017

Carlos Sainz to start from fourteenth despite being eleventh in Qualifying for the Russian GP

He narrowly missed Q3, but now will focus his attention on the race preparations

Sochi, April 29th 2017.- Qualifying for the Russian Grand Prix finished with Carlos Sainz on the eleventh place of the standings, although he will have to start from fourteenth since he has to  take the three-place penalty that he received in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Track-conditions were identical to yesterday, with the circuit at 38 degrees and the drivers obliged to manage the temperature of their tyres. With this challenge in mind, the Spaniard of Scuderia Toro Rosso was the first man to hit the track. He began with a 1’36"575 on his first flying lap, a time that he would improve by 19 milliseconds in his second lap. It could have been a faster time, but he was caught in traffic. For this reason, Carlos chose to use a second set of ultrasofts, on which he improved to 1’35"827 to finish P9 in Q1 and secure a spot in the following round.

In Q2, he began with a 1’35"985 on his very first lap. Traffic prevented him from a further improvement, but he didn’t give up. He picked-up a second set of ultrasofts and improved to 1:35.948 after two warm-up laps. This put him on a final eleventh place, in front of his team mate once again. The penalty from Bahrain will drag him to the seventh row of the grid.

Carlos analyzed the day after jumping out of his STR12. "It was a difficult Qualifying, because it was really difficult to warm-up the tyres. It is possible that my ideal lap was my penultimate, but I found another car in the third sector and sadly I couldn’t improve. My flying lap was not perfect because I lacked some grip in the front-end. I could feel that in the two opening sectors, but at least we managed to beat the other cars in the midfield, which is pretty tight nowadays".

He also reflected on the Grand Prix ahead. "So far this weekend has been a rollercoaster. Many ups and downs. Yesterday we were lacking a lot of pace, but today we made up most of that. So good job to the team. We did a really good job in Free Practice 3, but we knew that the Mercedes engines would have those extra tenths in Qualifying and in the end both Force Indias and Massa managed to edge us".

He discussed tomorrow’s race. "It will be a very tough race for overtaking, very difficult being it a one-stopper Grand Prix. But I remain positive. I will try to do a good start. Let’s see what we can invent strategy-wise to move ahead. If things turn out well, our goal should be finishing P9 or P11".

The Russian Grand Prix will start tomorrow at 15:00 local time, 14:00 Russian time. As always, we will follow it closely via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.