Carlos Sainz says farewell to Budapest with a well-earned eighth place in his bag after a solid performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix. This results brightens up even more his season, as the driver from Scuderia Toro Rosso has now moved up to tenth in the World Drivers' Championship standings.
On a very hot day and with temperatures over 50 degrees on track, something that was not quite good for the STR11, the Spaniard tried his best to defend at the start the magnificent sixth spot on the grid he had earned on Saturday. Sadly, he lost a place in benefit of Fernando Alonso, who started from the clean side of the grid while Carlos was on the dirty one.
At some stages during the race, Carlos proved to be faster than his countryman, especially during the opening stint on the supersoft tyres. The Toro Rosso performed well straight from the beginning, something that was positive for the team. He put pressure on the McLaren, but as overtaking is really challenging around the twisty Hungarian track, he had to stay behind it.
After his first visit to the pits, and by then on soft tyres, Carlos pushed the pedal to recover lost ground as his friend and rival struggled with tyre temperature. But in the end, that extra push proved to be harmful for Carlos' options as he couldn't go as long as he wanted on that stint. At that stage of the race, Kimi Räikkönen had already overtaken them both thanks to a different strategy and the greater pace from his Ferrari. In the closing chapters of the event, Carlos almost matched the pace of the McLaren despite the fact that it was impossible to overtake.
The Spaniard kept Valtteri Bottas' Williams under control and cruised to the chequered flag in front of him. His focus was more on Alonso, as he wanted to be ready just in case the two times world champion backed off at some point. But Fernando was "a clock as usual" and Carlos finished the Grand Prix in eighth place.
With this result, the Spaniard accomplishes his eighth points-finishing performance of year after 11 events. This proves the consistency and the strength of both him and his team Toro Rosso, as now Carlos moves up into the Top 10 at the Drivers' Championship standings with 30 points in total.
After jumping out of his car, Carlos couldn't hide the fact he was pleased with the day had unfolded:
"I'm happy. It was a solid performance from me and from the team. It's true that if you start from sixth you don't want to finish eighth, but ahead of us were the two Mercedes, the Ferraris, the Red Bulls and a McLaren, so we got the 99'9% of what was possible today".
"Seventh would have been the 100% for this weekend, because Ferrari was in a different world and the same goes for Red Bull and Mercedes. We got the 99'9% because in the start I couldn't do much starting from the dirty side and seeing what a great start the McLarens did. We held on to their pace during the race and we were faster than a Williams and a Force India despite our eventful Friday. We can't almost believe it. And plus the temperature didn't help us today, as it was very hot. But still the car performed, so I am really happy", he insisted.
"The McLarens do great starts and today they confirmed that as usual they have a couple extra tenths at that phase. I held Button back, but in Fernando's case that was not possible. Plus there was no point on risking it all in Turn 1 or 2 trying to make a move. Afterwards, our pace was very similar to his so I'm surprised of that, because we didn't have that pace in any of the three Free Practice sessions".
Recalling his Qualifying lap, he says he is still surprised by it. "I'm still not sure, honestly. In Free Practice 3 we were so far back than it is surprising to do so well all of a sudden in Qualifying and in the race. But mainly in Qualifying, because in the race we weren't as good as in Qualifying although not as bad as in Free Practice. But it was enough to secure the eighth place, which for me is a very solid result, more so knowing where we were on Friday and the weekend we've done in general".
Today's result gives continuity to Carlos' points streak, which now has become an usual thing for him. "Since Barcelona, I've been in the points in each race I've finished. We've found that consistency we were lacking, at last. We have do so many P8s. We only missed the points in Baku, where we didn't finish even though we were still very close to the points. But since then, our streak has been really good. I think this comes to show how much we've improved both the team and myself. Despite we're a bit slower than the McLarens and the Force Indias, we can still score points. We can be happy with that".
Now the Grand Prix world leaves Hungary and hits the road on its way to Hockenheimring, where the German Grand Prix will be held next week. It will be the last race before the summer break. We will follow it live via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.
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