A turbulent start and a penalty spoil the Spaniard's race
Sochi, May 1st 2016.- Carlos Sainz finished 12th at the Russian Grand Prix of Formula 1. The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver fought his way from the very first lap, in which the car was damaged after picking-up debris that plugged the radiator from his STR11. Forced to retire that piece from his sidepod, Carlos emerged from the Pit-Lane obliged to make over 40 laps on a single set of tyres in which he wasn't able to show his true potential.
Carlos took the start from the 11th spot on the grid, but he was up to eighth by the time he arrived at the first turn. Unfortunately, multiple accidents happened on his surroundings as drivers fought to survive. Although he managed to stay on track, debris coming from Daniil Kvyat's Red Bull went into Carlos' sidepods and compromised the cooling systems of his Toro Rosso as well as his downforce. This fact compromised Carlos' entire race.
The Safety-Car was required so marshals could safely recover crashed cars. As Carlos was on a one-stop strategy, Toro Rosso chose to stay on track. Nevertheless, Carlos later started to feel the issues caused by Red Bull's debris and the team opted to stop him on the 12th lap. This allowed the Spaniard to continue in the race, although forced to cover 41 laps on a single set of Pirelli soft tyres, many more laps than what was expected at first. Carlos spent most of the time taking care of his tyres and in consequence was slower than usual.
Sainz emerged from the Pit-Lane within a group of drivers that were fighting to get themselves into the points. In that fight he overtoke Jolyon Palmer's Renault in the first braking zone of the track, but marshals gave him a 10 second penalty after considering Carlos had gone too far on the exit of the turn and that he hadn't left enough space for his rival. It is an unprecedented penalty. Although it is common when this kind of situations happen at the entrance of a turn, it isn't at the exit.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver kept his head down and wasn't disturbed by this unwelcomed news, and kept on fighting for a spot in the Top 10. In the end,, his tyres died and couldn't defend from the attack of Jenson Button's McLaren, who was on much fresher tyres. Carlos crossed the line on 11th place but because of the time penalty dropped down to 12th.
These were his first words after stepping out of his STR11:
"All sorts of things happened to us again. I'm very disappointed, because there was pace within the car all week-end long and I had done a great start to move up to 8th. Later we lost power and suffered an issue on the engine for three or four laps behind the Safety-Car. We solved it later, more or less, but debris coming from a Red Bull was stuck at the back of my sidepod and I carried over with me for the whole stint. We lost downforce because of that. I had to stop too soon to get rid of it, so we lost time. From then on, my race had already been compromised. I've been on softs from Lap 12 and I've tried to reach the end one way or another, but we knew our race was compromised".
Carlos is skeptical as he talks about the penalty he was given. "I didn't see Palmer, I didn't know he'd try to place himself at my right in a place where there was not space enough to make it through. I had never seen a 10 second penalty in Formula 1 for such a maneuver".
Now, Carlos focuses on the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix. "We'll start from zero there after four races in which all sorts of things have happened to us. I hope we start the Championship from scratch and we enjoy clean races".
Engines will be off until May 13th, the day in which will begin Free Practice for the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, the first European round of the year.