It’s time to bounce back after a Qualifying compromised by the rain
Sao Paulo, November 12th 2016.- Carlos Sainz finished fifteenth in the Qualifying session for the Brazil GP, where the driver from Scuderia Toro Rosso didn't felt completely comfortable with the balance of his car. The Spaniard, who came from a solid P10 in Mexico, fell in Q2 despite setting a personal best of 1’12”920.
The session developed under the permanent risk of rain, which didn’t materialize in the end. Nevertheless, clouds covered the sky all day long and that produced cool temperatures with the air at 19ºC and the track at only 27ºC. This situation meant that drivers would have to work harder in order to warm-up their tyres properly.
Carlos reached Qualifying conscious of the magnitude of the challenge that lied ahead. He had been fourteenth in Free Practice 3 this morning, where he already noticed that Q3 would be tighter than usual. The lack of power of his engine, a Ferrari 2015-spec, played against him and was a handicap in the third sector on the up-hill run towards the finish line, where he lost precious tenths.
In Q1, the Spaniard secured a spot in the following round with a single set of tyres. His 1’12”950 granted him the twelfth fastest time overall. He would later fit another set of softs just in case, although he didn’t even need to set a flying lap on them.
In Q2, he used two sets of the soft compound. The first one was the one he had already used in the last minutes of Q1. The other one was brand new. Despite his efforts to make it into Q3, he could only improve three hundreds of a second. His rivals’ progress was bigger and that left him fifteenth for tomorrow’s Starting Grid.
As he approached by the media, Carlos expressed his surprise. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t improve more between Q1 and Q2. He will study that question mark with his engineers.
"There was a little bit of rain hanging around and that takes away some confidence from you, but my lap was still trouble-free. It was a 1'12"9. The weird thing about that is that we didn't improve compared to Q1. We'll have to take a look at that, because we didn't find any more time".
“It was almost impossible to make it to Q3 in this track. It was the same case in Austin and Mexico, but here even more. There's a long uphill run and you can really feel your power deficit there. The final result is as we expected: P14 and P15. We didn't have any major issues. The only question I have is why we didn't improve between Q1 and Q2".
"Maybe the cooler conditions helped those teams that yesterday felt uncomfortable in the heat, because in these conditions it is easier to handle the car. We were fine yesterday despite the heat. We have lots of downforce and that helps us a bit, but today all teams had that advantage. Plus, in Qualifying you run on low fuel and you spend more time flat-out. And for us the more time flat-out the worse as we lack power”.
Carlos also admitted that his mechanics had tuned his set-ups thinking in tomorrow’s rain.
"We weren't fully prepared for dry conditions, so I hope for some rain tomorrow. I hope our rivals don't go that well tomorrow and that we can enter the Top 10, just like in Monaco or Hungary. We need rain in the race, not Qualifying. A wet race is filled with trouble, incidents and retirements. And it looks like it's going to be more intense than the drizzle we saw in Free Practice 3. If it doesn't rain and nothing happens ahead, then it's going to be tough to score points. But I will try still".
Last but not least, the Spaniard also gave his views on the Championship fight between Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton. Tomorrow Formula 1 could have a new champion. "Nico could finish second in the two races that remain and he'd be champion still. It seems like people forget about that, but with a Mercedes it's not that hard to have these results. Today they were six tenths ahead of the rests and we are in Brazil, where a lap only lasts 1'10. Take that to Abu Dhabi and they'll have a full second margin, if they give their very best. Tomorrow the start is going to be key, and then let's see how Nico handles the rain".
The Brazil Grand Prix will begin at 14:00 local time, 17:00 Spanish time. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account.