Jul 23, 2016

Carlos Sainz to start Hungarian Grand Prix from a surprising sixth place

He achieves Toro Rosso's best Qualifying performance ever at the Hungaroring circuit

Mogyoród, July 23rd 2016.- Carlos Sainz has accomplished a magnificent sixth place for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix Starting Grid after an eventful Qualifying session that turned out to be completely unpredictable. It was rainy at the beginning, red flagged four times afterwards and finally completely dry by the came Q3 started. The driver from Scuderia Toro Rosso got the maximum out of his car and managed to put together the best Qualifying result ever in the team’s history at the Hungaroring track.

Q1 was a challenge for all drivers. It was delayed first for 20 minutes. Then, there were four red flag periods. The first one was because of a downpour. The three remaining were due to crashes by Ericsson, Massa and Haryanto. Carlos set a time in the early stages, but the constant interruptions of the sessions prevented him from improving it. It all come together shortly before the chequered flag, when he clocked a 1’36”115 lap on intermediate tyres to secure his way into Q2.
In the second round, he started on another set of Pirelli intermediates before picking-up the slicks as the track got drier. It was still wet and slippery at some places, especially the kerbs. It was better to stay away from them and everyone drove within a tiny dry line that grew bigger as minutes went by and the track became faster. On slick tyres, Carlos made a 1’24”734 which was enough to access the third and final phase.

In Q3, Carlos had nothing to lose as he was battling against rivals who in theory were quicker than his Toro Rosso. Nevertheless, he managed to keep at bay the McLarens and the Force Indias thanks to a 1’21”131 lap. Carlos was one of the first drivers to start his second stint, and consequently wasn’t affected by Fernando Alonso’s yellow flag. The fellow Spaniard spun a few meters behind the Toro Rosso and caused a yellow flag, but Carlos still managed to get the sixth best time overall. Tomorrow, he will start from the third row on the grid. It’s an important milestone considering the difficulty of overtaking in this track.

His Qualifying lap is especially remarkable when taken into consideration that it as 1”271 seconds faster than his Free Practice 3 lap, which was at 1’22”402. Track conditions didn’t improve at all, but he still picked up his pace.
After jumping out of his STR11, Carlos was delighted and cheerful.

“We can be very happy, to be honest. It’s even hard to comprehend, because in theory the track was worse than in Free Practice 3 and in FP3 we were almost a second behind the McLarens and the Force Indias. In Qualifying, we could battle them. That was confusing. Now we must see why we weren’t so good in Free Fractice 3 and how did we find rhythm in Qualifying all of a sudden, although that was a great lap from me, I must say. As I said in the beginning, we must be very happy”.

This is how he describes the early stages of the session. "In Q1 there were many red flags, so I couldn't set a time. I knew we had the pace, but it was impossible with so many red flags. Plus, there was a lot of spray, we were always in the middle of that spray and didn't see a thing. But we stayed patient, we waited always for the very right moment. We did the time when it really mattered, without any mistakes. I'm especially happy with Q2, because I was the first to cross the line and managed to get into Q3 even though the track was drying up very quickly. We didn’t expect that”.

"And then I managed to get that lap, 1.5 seconds faster than the one I did in Free Practice 3. I don't know where it came from, to be honest, because the track wasn't 1.5 seconds quicker than this morning", he sentenced.
This fantastic results is even sweeter because it's unexpected, but Carlos has shifted his focus into tomorrow's race. "We didn't expect that. The first thing I've said in the radio was 'I think we didn't expect to be sixth, we can be really happy'. Now I think on tomorrow. If it doesn't rain, it's going to be a completely different story. We will start ahead but with fast cars behind. We'll go flat-out because we must stay at the front".

With today's result, Carlos equals his second best qualifying ever in F1, the one from Monaco this year. He was only fastest in Spain 2015, where he was fifth. Tomorrow, the Hungarian Grand Prix will start at 14:00 Spanish time. As always, we will follow it via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.