Carlos Sainz finished eighth in the Austrian Grand Prix after a great double-comeback on which he regained seven spots in comparison to his starting position. The Spaniard signs another solid performance in the points which inspires good sensations within the team despite the different technical issues encountered along the weekend in the Red Bull Ring.
The day promised to be tricky from the very beginning, as yesterday's engine failure left Carlos on the 15th spot of the grid. Today, overtaking was a must. Rain was a constant threat, but in the end the race was on dry conditions. The driver from Scuderia Toro Rosso had the liberty to choose whatever tyre compound he wanted to begin with, as he didn't take part in the last phase of Qualifying, and he chose to go for the Supersoft option from Pirelli, a more conservative choice than some of his rivals that would enable him to go a little further with his first stint.
The Spaniard did a clean start, holding on to his position and then unleashing his most aggressive mode in the following turns to quickly regain places. By the end of that first lap, he had already overtaken five cars and was tenth, right within the group of drivers that was fighting for a spot among the points-zone.
Nine laps later, Carlos came in to the pits to change to soft tyres. His stop was quite tricky for the team, as his release arrived late and that costed him a couple of places on track.
Nevertheless, the most critical moment happened when the Safety-Car was out due to Sebastian Vettel's crash on the main straight. Carlos chose to stay out, but the team called him in on the following lap and that forced Carlos to wait for the rest of cars to pass through before he could rejoin. He fell from eighth to 17th. He would have to complete the remaining 42 laps on that very same set of soft tyres.
The fightback was tough and included many overtaking maneuvers along the way to climb up to the final eighth spot. Among his 'victims' were Force India's Nico Hülkenberg, McLaren's Fernando Alonso or Renault's Kevin Magnussen.
With this result, the Spaniard has returned to the points -four more today- and has helped inspire optimism within the team ahead of next week's Silverstone event, his favorite track. Plus, as the two Force Indias fell outside the points today Toro Rosso is a little closer to the fifth spot on the Constructors' Championship.
These were Carlos' words after the race.
"Eighth was the maximum we could do today. It was a great start. I didn't really gain any positions there, but on the following two turns. I went flat-out and it was worth it. We won five spots there. It was quite tricky to warm-up the tyre at the beginning and when we found ourselves in the middle of fights we really couldn't do much with our top speed, but then we found our pace after the second stop and we could overtake cars non-stop. We finished eighth in the end, and in the points!".
The Spaniard explained he lost time in pits as he had to wait for other cars to catch-up during the Safety-Car period. All the cars had to go through the Pit-Lane before the Toro Rosso was given green light to rejoin. "It was difficult to know when was I going to be released and then we had to fightback again. The optimum thing would have been to stop a lap earlier, just by the time the Safety-Car appeared. We lost all the work we had done during our first stint, so we had to regain those positions back".
Carlos competed with the engine that was dismissed yesterday after Free Practice 3. "We knew the engine had had some issues on Saturday, but it was only something from the electronics. The internal combustion engine and the other parts were OK, there was no reason to have any issues. We saw that today".
Without time to rest, now Formula 1 returns to the United Kingdom for the next round of the calendar, the Great Britain Grand Prix. The all-time classic Silverstone track will welcome the sport next weekend. We will follow it via www.carlosainz.es and our Twitter account @carlosainzinfo.
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