He had a problem before the start but recovered with good pace. Points were the only missing reward
Sepang, October 2nd 2016.- The Malaysia Grand Prix didn't have any points in score for Scuderia Toro Rosso, but Carlos Sainz drove a faultless race and recovered many spots just to cross the chequered flag one position short from the points, in eleventh place.
The Spaniard suffered a problem just before the start as the engine of his Toro Rosso STR11 switched off all of a sudden. Luckily, Carlos stood calm in such a critic moment, which put in danger his race participation, and managed to turn on again the the power unit by playing with the buttons on his steering-wheel just in time to press the throttle when the red lights went off. In fact, by the first corner he had already recovered five places despite the initial problems.
Carlos followed a two-stopper strategy and he stuck to it despite the two Virtual Safety-Cars. When the first one came out, in Lap 12, the team chose to stay out on soft tyres when many of his rivals pitted in. Eight laps later he changed to the mandatory hard compound. 17 laps later he would change back to Pirelli's soft compound, on which he completed the remaining 19 laps of the race. That was before the second Virtual Safety-Car.
In the closing stages of the race, the Spaniard managed to close to two seconds the gap to Jolyon Palmer's Renault in a last minute effort to score some points before the chequered flag. The lack of power of his STR11 got in the way and he couldn't reach his slipstream to try and fight for the tenth place. So, a final eleventh place in a tough race filled with collisions, retirements and strategic philosophies, all challenges that Carlos and his team overcame with a trouble free performance.
After getting out of his car, the driver explained he felt satisfied with his performance despite the fact that he would have preferred to end the day in the points.
"Many things happened during the race and that was precisely what we needed. We went for a different strategy to our rivals', choosing to stay out during the first Virtual Safety-Car. After that I just followed my rhythm without worrying too much about what was going on around me. And then, after my last stop, they told me I was P11 and just two seconds away from the Renault. I gave my very best, but without more power that was an impossible task".
Carlos' first rival was a mechanical issue right before the start. "I'm happy, mainly because the start was chaos. My engine switched off and I had to turn it on pressing a button. We did it, so I could start the race when the red lights went off. It was a great start indeed; I managed to be P11 despite that problem, which already happened to me last year. I could see the points very near, but from then on we moved backwards a little bit".
Carlos' final thoughts about the event are positive. "I'm calm. I knew we had to do a great race after what happened in Singapore and I've recovered with one of my best races of the year, considering our resources. It's a shame not getting those points to top it off, but that's how life is sometimes".
Looking at the bigger picture, Carlos misses the points and thinks about working flat-out with Toro Rosso to try and improve if possible their inevitable mechanical handicaps. "I'm positive as my race turned out to be good, negative if I take a look at our rhythm, which was worse than Renault's in a track where we expected to be ahead. There are lots of things to analyze and learn, because we're a little further behind that what we expected to be after Singapore. Now we'll work our best for Japan, I'm sure of that".
Franz Tost has a similar vision, as Scuderia Toro Rosso's team boss explains. "Carlos showed a competitive performance. He had a good start and gained many positions during the first lap, climbing from P16 to P11. Later on in the race and before his first pit-stop, he was able to race in P6 and keep this position for quite some time. In the final stages of the race we were simply too slow to stay in this position and ended up only eleventh. Of course, the long straights here didn't help us, but this is how it is. Now we have to be focused on doing a reasonable job in Japan next week".
Formula 1 never rests and now travels to Japan, where in five days’ time the Japanese Grand Prix will begin with its Friday Free Practice sessions. It was in that technical track where last year, under the rain, Carlos Sainz managed to lead a Free Practice session and score points on Sunday. We will follow 2016's event via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.