Carlos Sainz made a perfect race at the Spanish Grand Prix, where he finished in sixth place. The driver from Scuderia Toro Rosso accomplished his best result since his arrival to Formula 1 and equaled the team's best performance so far in the season.
Carlos started from eighth, but gained positions with a great start. He made the most out of the crash between the two Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton to progress even more and reach third place. The Safety-Car came out for two laps but none of the leading cars chose to pit. At that time, Carlos was behind the two Red Bulls and in front of the Ferraris and the Williams.
With the green flag waving in the air, the difference in performance among cars became evident. Carlos defended his place from both Ferraris even though he used an old-gen spec engine, all without compromising his tyre's life. Once overtaken by the Maranello drivers, the Spaniard hold on to P5 until Lap 10 before his first visit to the Pit-Lane. he went from a set of used softs (the ones from Q2) to a brand-new one of the medium compound.
From that moment on, Carlos stabilized his pace and consolidated as the first among mortals just behind the two Red Bulls, the Ferraris and Valtteri Bottas' Williams, who proved to be a bit faster than his STR11. Back at his tail he had Sergio Perez's Force India, but the Spaniard didn't crack under pressure and built an advantage over the Mexican he'd preserve until the chequered flag. His second (and last) pit-stop was in Lap 39, when he went for a set of the Pirelli mediums to complete another regular-paced stint.
Finally, Carlos crossed the line on sixth place with a margin of 18 seconds over Perez. This result is Carlos' best performance as a Formula 1 driver and a set forward from the seventh place scored last year at the United States GP, where he did a solid recovery from the bottom of the grid. He also equals Toro Rosso's best performance this season and, more important, brings the team up to the fifth place in the Constructors' Championship, the goal set at the beginning of 2016.
Carlos felt very happy about today's result. "It was a perfect weekend, starting from Thursday. The preparations, the Friday, Saturday's Qualifying with a perfect lap, perfect pace and start in the race... I want to thank all the team, they did an amazing job all weekend long and it was about time bad things stopped happening to us so we could do what we know best: get results. The team has received this result very well, mainly because we leave from here with the fifth position of the Constructors' Championship and we know now we'll get to Monaco, a track that should suit us pretty well. So we must be very, very happy".
"I don't remember the start very well because there were many things happening around and I had to improvise a lot. I think I was one of the best starters among the Top 10, although they cought up in the straights. I defended myself as I could because I lacked a bit of power, but later, in Turn 4, I capitalized Vettel's bad exit from Turn 3 and I said to myself: "Let's go for it and see what happens!". I attacked from the outside and managed to get the overtaking done. From then one it was a matter of balancing between the option of destroying my tyres but keeping behind the Ferraris or to save track-position. I went for the second option".
"I didn't try to hold the Ferraris down. in fact, the team asked me through the radio to let them go because it was not our war. I told each Ferrari car: '"I won't let you go, at least not for one lap. I'll disturb you a little bit and then let you go'. I wanted to have fun for one lap. I knew they wouldn't pass me using the outside line, so it was a matter of letting them the inside one so they could overtake".
Carlos also congratulated Max Verstappen, with whom he lived good fights as teammates up until this Grand Prix. "I want to congratulate Max. I think it's great for the Red Bull family, but also for Max and myself that Red Bull keeps on brining young talents to Formula 1 and that they win races as soon as they have the chance. The only thing I hope is that my opportunity comes soon so I can fight for victories with him just like we fought for Q3 spots and P8 results".
After finishing in sixth position, Carlos celebrated by waving a Spanish flag on his way back to the Pit-Lane, but it was not his fathers'. "They gave me another, but it wouldn't have been bad to celebrate with my fathers'. I keep that one for the podium. The one I had here was given to me by one marshal in Turn 3, I couldn't say no! I wanted it so bad".
Formula 1 will remain at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as this upcoming week there will be two test days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Carlos won't take part in them, so next time he'll be driving the STR11 will be on the following round of the calendar, the Monaco GP, which will begin on Thursday, May 26th with the first Free Practice session and will continue up until the 29th".
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