He made the most out of his STR12, setting his fastest lap at the very last minute
Montecarlo, May 27th 2017.- Carlos Sainz achieved the sixth fastest lap of the Qualifying session for the Monaco Grand Prix, a result that enables him to start from the third row of the grid for tomorrow’s race, which will be held in one of the most iconic scenarios of the season.
With a track-temperature of 53 degrees, Carlos ran from the very beginning below the 1:14 mark. In the end, he reached a solid 1’13"526 to ensure a ticket to Q2. He finished the first round on a good seventh place and advanced to the following phase.
Q2 was even tougher. Carlos put new ultrasoft tyres and set a 1:13.655 after a brief warm-up lap. The Spaniard would later pit for fresh tyres, driving slowly at first so they could pick temperature before going flat-out to stop the clock at 1’13"397 on the fifth lap of his stint. It was enough to access Q3.
In Q3, Carlos joined the track on brand new tyres. While his rivals chose to go for a flying lap straight from the very beginning, Carlos repeated the warm-up process he had followed in Q2. He lapped slowly, picking-up his pace once the tyre approached its optimum temperature. He did his fastest lap on the last minute. Improving in the three sectors, the Spaniard crossed the line at an excellent 1:13.162. It was a perfect lap, enough to clinch the sixth place and stay ahead of the mid-field. He was only 164 milliseconds away from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.
Carlos was very satisfied with this result. "I am very happy. In Q1 we saw that the mid-field teams were closer, they were putting some pressure on us. I was expecting some good laps in Q2 and Q3, but all of a sudden we were forced to do great laps from the very beginning. That made things a bit more difficult, but we remained calm and built confidence. In Q3, we pushed flat-out for the perfect lap".
"We are doing much better in this circuit. In Barcelona and other tracks, we wouldn’t even dream of qualifying on P6. The car behaves very well. The team has done a good step-forward, although they haven’t changed pretty much anything in the car. I’ve also added my extra bit to qualify ahead of our rivals".
"If you want to do a perfect lap at some point during the year, this is in Monaco. It is the best of the year, the one where you sense the most pressure and adrenaline. I took a long breath after I finished my lap, because this year this circuit is a monster with this season’s cars".
Talking about his options for tomorrow, the Spaniard says he will go for it as he hopes to stay ahead of his main rivals.
"You could ask us to stay behind the cars that are quicker than us. Everything is possible at the start, also with the strategy. I will try to open a gap to the cars behind, but it won’t be easy because they will be fast too", Carlos finished.
The Monaco Grand Prix will be held tomorrow at 14:00 CEST. We will follow Carlos’ closely via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.