P8 for the Toro Rosso driver after a hard-fought session
Barcelona, May 14th 2016.- Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix was productive for Carlos Sainz' interests, as he earned a well-deserved eighth place in the Starting Grid of his home race.
With track at 43ºC, conditions proved to be different than the ones encountered previously in the morning Free Practice and the sessions held in Friday. Carlos adjusted his set-up to aim for the fastest time possible.
In Q1, Carlos set a 1'24"496 in his first timed lap, which was enough to make it to the following round. By that time it was the fastest time he had set on the soft compound so far.
He used another set of the same compound in Q2, in which he picked up his pace up to 1'24"077, a very good lap. On this occasion he went for a second try but couldn't improve his overall time, although he did make progress in some sectors. Carlos finished ninth and moved on to the decisive Q3 just in front of Fernando Alonso's McLaren.
For Q3, the Spaniard from Toro Rosso only had the extra set that Pirelli gives to every car for this round, so he choose to go for a single stint. The last changes to his STR11 were enough to found a few tenths and move its performance closer to the limit with a 1'23"643 lap which represented the eighth spot on the grid, 199 milliseconds away from Valtteri Bottas' Williams-Mercedes.
Tomorrow Carlos faces a very strategic race in which he'll have to do something different to his rivals in order to make the most out of the good pace he's shown so far this weekend and to be affected by the Top Speed of his rivals and the difficulty of overtaking in Montmelo.
Carlos was optimistic when he talked to the press.
"I'm very happy with the eighth spot on the grid for my home GP. I didn't expect anything else, to be honest. To make it to Q3 was going to be difficult, as we could have expected from FP3. It was all very tight and the devil was in the detail. I improved my car a bit for Qualifying, enough to enter Q3 and be second among the mortals. In the end a Williams escaped through, but we knew that was something that could happen because of that extra bit that Mercedes' engines have for Qualifying".
"I thought my Q2 lap was going to be difficult to improve, but suddenly after the first three turns in Q3 I felt myself better with the car. I felt it had improved and I found those three or four tenths, I didn't expect to find them. I expected a P9 or a P10, but it all came together and here we are, P8. We are only three tenths away from a Ferrari, for us that is amazing".
VISIT AT THE 'CARLOS SAINZ 55' TRIBUNE
Shortly after Qualifying, Carlos went to the G-Grandstand, which has been renamed with his name for a weekend, and there thanks to Red Bull and the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya 1.500 fans had united to support the Spaniard with flags and clothes with his 55 number.
The Spanish Grand Prix will commence tomorrow at 14:00 Spanish time, and will be covered live both through Movistar + as La1 de Televisión Española and TV3 from Catalonia.