The lack of mileage in Free Practice 3 and a wheel-nut problem in Q1 compromise his day
Suzuka, October 8th 2016.- The Qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix was a bittersweet one for Carlos Sainz. On one side, it was positive as the Spaniard managed to make it through despite a series of technical problems. But on the other one, it was negative as these glitches compromised Carlos’ work on track. The Spaniard from Scuderia Toro Rosso secured the fourteenth spot on the grid after reaching the second phase of Qualifying, although he still felt like in normal conditions he would have been further ahead.
Carlos’ problems began with a battery failure in Free Practice 3. He couldn’t complete any laps in normal conditions, and as such he wasn’t able to do the traditional Qualifying simulation, which is crucial both for the team and the driver. For the team, it is important because it’s the moment to make last-minute adjustments to the car. For the driver, it is relevant because it’s an opportunity to gain experience that will be put to good use later in the day.
Nevertheless, Carlos was well and ready for Q1. He completed one lap on new tyres to get to know better the track and came in to the pits to change tyres. But then, the second setback of the day hit his plans. The team struggled to adjust the wheel-nut of the right-rear tyre, which didn’t want to come off. Despite the effort of the mechanics, it was still a long repair process. This left Carlos with time to do only one flying lap. He couldn’t warm-up the tyres as usual, and instead gave it all on his first timed attempt. He secured a place in Q2 with a 1:32.789 lap.
In the second round, Carlos was one of the first drivers to hit the track. He set an initial 1:32.685 and climbed up to a provisional P14. Later on, equipped with brand new tyres, he tried again. But his efforts were in vain, as he took a different approach to the Spoon Curve and lost control for a moment. He wasn’t able to finish the lap as he would have wished, and instead was forced to settle with a P14 that didn’t match his expectations, as he still felt there was more rhythm within the car.
After getting out of the car, Carlos didn't want to hide his bad feelings.
"The truth is that it was a very bad Saturday for us, because after yesterday's good vibes we made our lives more difficult with an electrical problem in Free Practice 3. I couldn’t do more laps because of that problem. Without that mileage, you reach Qualifying less prepared than your rivals, with 10 laps less under your belt. It was recovery time from then on, but then in Q1 we had another problem because a tyre was stuck and we couldn't take it off. That's why we left the Pit-Lane so late in Q1. I'm very disappointed. There was potential for something more than P14, but when things go wrong from the beginning, they go wrong all the way".
"If I had run in Free Practice 3 without these electrical issues, everything would have been better. The Qualifying laps were all uphill as we had to recover the time we had lost previously. Plus, it was stressful as we had to see if we had time enough to make it through the line before the chequered flag. An eventful Saturday".
"Today I did four or five laps, and such a low mileage Saturday makes it difficult to know what were we capable off or what can we expect for tomorrow. Tough to know. We'll talk about that with the engineers, but the most important thing is to do our homework and today we didn’t".
"Looking at the positive side, if today we had a bad Quali but still ended up P14, it means that the car has the potential to be a bit more ahead. We have a good race pace for tomorrow – it might be tough to get to the points as there are a few other teams quicker than us, but as soon as something happens we should be the best of the rest", he concluded.
The Japanese Grand Prix will begin tomorrow Sunday at 07:00 Spanish time and in Spain it will be broadcasted by Movistar+ F1. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.