On Saturday there was a buzz in the Toro Rosso garages as Carlos Sainz qualified 6th with his team-mate Daniil Kvyat just behind in 7th. The team looked in good shape for the race and it even looked possible that they’d jump McLaren in the Constructors.
After the first lap of the race it had all gone wrong. Carlos Sainz found himself on the wrong end of a racing incident at the start as he tried to overtake the bogged down Verstappen whilst Hulkenberg’s Force India went for the same gap. The result, a damaged side of the car for Sainz that would eventually result in a black and orange flag and an extra pit-stop.
The Spanish driver felt that this race was a big opportunity wasted. He said,
“I’m angry, especially after having qualified in P6. The race didn’t start well, as I had to avoid Max when the lights went out and, while doing that, a Force India suddenly came flying by and we collided.
He took the worst part and I took the second worst part, damaging the right-hand side of my car. However, we still had decent pace after this and we were fighting for points, but we were forced to stop early as we were shown the black and orange flag and we re-joined behind too much traffic…
Later on, halfway through the race, we had a problem with the Energy Recovery System and I had to run to the end trying to do the best I could. Nothing went right and when you have these kind of opportunities – starting P6 at a circuit like Singapore – you need to make sure you take them and we didn’t.
But I stay positive [for future races]: the level of performance we’ve shown this weekend has been amazing and points would’ve certainly been possible.”
– Carlos Sainz
Sainz was unlucky to finish the race down in 14th, a lap behind the leaders. His team-mate Daniil Kvyat proved to both himself and the rest of the paddock that he hasn’t lost it. He put together a strong race for 9th, but like his team-mate, feels that he could have done much better. Kvyat said after the race that,
“Our strategy was a bit too conservative. I’m happy because I took as much out of it in the circumstances, but I felt we didn’t even try to risk today unfortunately.
Too conservative for our pace; if we wanted to fight with [McLaren’s Fernando] Alonso which I think we could we should have been more aggressive with the strategy. I thought maybe we were going to get ahead of Alonso with clever strategy but we didnt manage to invent something clever today unfortunately.
It was shame we didn’t risk enough with the strategy but that’s the only complaint I have about it. [We should have] undercut people more aggressively and [left] the tyres on for longer, which I think we had the pace to do.”
– Daniil Kvyat
Kvyat and Alonso both made three pit-stops and had the same strategy up until the final stop. Alonso went for fresh softs whilst Kvyat had to stretch out some used supersofts. A possibly more aggressive strategy might have been to cut his second-stint short to try and get the undercut on Alonso. Kvyat’s only stint on fresh rubber was his third-stint on a set of Supersofts so that would have been the stint to stretch out, but it’s easier to see in hindsight. The most important thing for Kvyat is that points are on the board and he’s enjoying his racing again.
“I enjoyed it a lot. The racing over this past month has been a big test of my passion but I’m loving it again so that’s mega. I pushed to the very last centimetre and left myself on the track.
Great job from the team, we’re back in the points after a tough period. Good tyre management from our car, fast in both quali and race conditions so pretty satisfying to see that – but bigger challenges are ahead.”
– Daniil Kvyat
— Toro Rosso (@ToroRosso) September 18, 2016