Carlos Sainz believes that he could have made his usual contribution to keeping Toro Rosso's points haul ticking over at Silverstone, only to be robbed by another unexplained mechanical failure just past half-distance.
The Spaniard, driving the sole remaining STR10 following Max Verstappen's early exit, was running in a comfortable ninth at the time of his retirement, and reckons that the two points that came with were the least of his expectations.
“It was frustrating because we were P9, so two points, and I think, with the rain coming, P8 or P7 was possible….,” he reasoned, “We would have been good in the wet, like [Daniil] Kvyat in the Red Bull. That had a lot of downforce and was not engine dependent, and he was flying in the wet, so....
“You could say we missed a P9 or P8 but, to us, P9 or P8 is like P2 or P3 to Ferrari and we missed an opportunity to score our standard points. It's a real shame as we've been really strong all weekend, apart from our first stint which is still our weakness and something we have to look into.”
Sainz was ahead of Sergio Perez, but had been warned for exceeding track limits shortly before his car ground to a halt approaching the final corner. Unable to move it behind the barriers, the incident provoked a virtual safety car, but otherwise had no lasting impact on the race.
“The start was not great - we put a new clutch on the car and didn't have enough clutch maps for a good start – but Kimi [Raikkonen] also had a bad start, so I battled with him in turn one,” the rookie recalled, “I managed to hold off the Red Bull behind, but it allowed the Force Indias to pull away too much.
“I committed to two stops quite early, put the hard tyre on and the car was changed completely – I went two seconds quicker on the out-lap, nearly undercut Perez, overtook Fernando [Alonso] and was battling with [Daniel] Ricciardo for 2-3 laps, but I was waiting for the rain to come for that whole stint.
“I had no tyres left and could see the cloud coming, so I was waiting, waiting, waiting... Then, just as it started raining and we knew the car would be strong, all the electrics on the car shut down and I had no steering, no radio... I was coasting and tried a hundred 'on-offs' to see if something was happening - but nothing worked!”
As a result, Toro Rosso moves on to Hungary in three weeks' time with Sainz now looking for his first points in three races, even though the team has not lost ground on Lotus and Sauber ahead of it as neither scored at Silverstone.
“Hungary doesn't have too many straights, or not long ones, so I think we should be quite strong in sector two,” the Spaniard suggested, “I still think we have one of the best cars aerodynamically, although I feel that, mechanically, we still have some things to look into.
“I know that, in quali, I can do whatever I want – I can turn in when I want, rotate it and have the rears support. I have the confidence but, with 100 kilos [of fuel], there's oversteer on entry and understeer mid-corner – its very strange! We tried things in [testing in] Barcelona and some things in [testing in] Austria and we still don't know why...