Carlos Sainz Jr admitted that he was 'p*ssed off' at having to end his final day of running in the Barcelona group test, but insisted that, prior to his accident at turn three, it had been his most promising session to date.
The rookie, who partners fellow newcomer Max Verstappen at Toro Rosso this season, fell victim to the same corner as veteran Fernando Alonso, damaging his car badly enough for the team to call a halt to proceedings. Although he was physically unhurt, the Spaniard confessed that his pride had been dented by the incident, particularly as it curtailed any prospect of further improvement.
“The important thing is that I am okay, but it was quite a hard accident in turn three,” Sainz commented, “Today, there were very high, but very inconsistent, winds, which didn't make life very easy for the drivers and, unfortunately, on one of my long runs with the hard tyres, I lost the car to snap oversteer. I couldn't correct it and went into the wall and damaged the car quite badly.
“It is a fast and long corner - you do a complete 180-degree turn but in a really fast way, so you have completely different balances through the corner. On entry, you have one balance; in mid-corner, you have another; and suddenly, on exit, you have the opposite balance to what you had on entry, so it's not easy to measure and it's not easy for the driver to handle because, one lap, it is like that then, the next, there is no wind.
“But these things happen and today was my turn. You've seen many other good drivers crash in the past and sometimes it happens in testing. You've just got to learn from it [but] obviously it is not ideal to finish the day [that way] and I am the first one that is p*ssed off about it as, up until that point, it had been a really good day.”
Having finished day two of the test slowest of all on a 1m 28.9s lap, Sainz had improved by 3.3secs by the time of his off, and reported that he felt more comfortable in the STR10 than at any other point in pre-season.
“I was starting to be myself, with a lot of confidence in the car,” he confirmed, “The day had been the best day of testing up until that point. I felt that, this morning compared to day two, it was a completely different car, completely different to drive, with much more feeling on the brakes and much better feeling in all types of corners. Even with the high winds we had in the morning, I felt much more comfortable with the car and I managed to push. I managed to do some good short runs, which was giving me a lot of confidence. I don't know what the others were doing but, for the conditions we had in the morning, with that amount of wind, I think it was a decent effort.”
With just the third and final group test, also in Barcelona, remaining before the teams start to think about heading to Melbourne for next month's opening championship round, Sainz insists that he will put the incident behind him and focus on his final preparations.
“I cannot wait for those two [remaining] days of testing,” he said, “Obviously, we are planning to bring a decent upgrade which will make things much more easy and, from there, we can start working and preparing for the Australian Grand Prix. I'm sure I'll be ready by then. In terms of car behaviour, I was starting to feel really confident and was starting to push properly, so every small adjustment we are making through these days is helping and we are obviously going for forward.”