He makes it to Q3 for the ninth time this season
Mexico City, October 29th 2016.- Carlos Sainz completed a fantastic Qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix, after securing the tenth spot for tomorrow's starting grid. The Spaniard from Scuderia Toro Rosso reached the third phase of the session for the ninth time this year.
Track temperature changed dramatically compared to Free Practice 3, reaching 56ºC as Carlos and nine other drivers hit the tarmac to take part in Q3. Air temperature stood cool at 18ºC.
These conditions provided different grip levels in previous outings, and that forced all drivers to get up to speed quickly. Carlos completed two stints in Q1, as his first timed lap didn't inspire him the confidence he sought to reach the following round. He went out again and improved to tenth thanks to a 1'20"457 lap.
In Q2, Carlos used an old set of supersofts for his first run. He warmed the tyres for two laps before setting a 1'20"260, which proved that the track was getting faster as Carlos was faster than when he was on brand new Pirellis.
Nevertheless, he later picked up a new set of softs to try and fight for a place in Q3. He improved a full tenth to 1'20"269, securing the tenth place in the standings and a ticket to the fight for Pole Position.
In that third and last phase, Carlos began on old supersofts before switching to new ones in the closing stages of the day. He achieved the tenth spot for tomorrow's grid.
Carlos' first thoughts as he got out of the car couldn't have been more positive:
"I am very happy, because for us to reach Q3 in a circuit like this it's a great deal, as we know that this track doesn't suit us very well. We've worked really well in the last few races. We didn't expect to make it to Q3, but we've been there for the second time in a row. Before Austin we didn't even think we'd be here again", he said.
"In theory, McLaren is 10 kilometers/hour faster than us. Force India, 15. If they don't win us tomorrow... They've got all they need to beat us. But yes, we are P10 and we didn't expect that. So tomorrow I will go out there and enjoy, I will give my very best. We've been running with the same car we had in Hockenheim. Maybe what’s pushing us is the confidence or the will within the team. We want to finish the year on a good note with what we have. We know it's not much, but we've been good in Qualifying lately".
Tomorrow, Carlos will have to start the race on the supersoft compound, the one with the highest wear rate of the three available for the weekend. This could make things difficult for him from a strategy point of view, but he's focused.
"The supersoft is a very difficult tyre for all of us. It doesn't work the way we expected it to work. It's been a headache. But in the end we've made it to Q3 and they can't take that away from us".
The Mexican Grand Prix will commence tomorrow at 13:00 local time, 20:00 Spanish time. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.