Carlos Sainz has expressed his 'relief' at demonstrating the potential of the Toro Rosso package without the hindering effect of the Ferrari power unit after qualifying sixth for the Singapore Grand Prix.
Having started the season well, Toro Rosso's fortunes have dipped in recent races as it slips back in the development race, a cause unaided by the use of a year-old Ferrari power unit that has reached its 'peak' potential.
However, around a Marina Bay street circuit where the engine is less of a determining factor Sainz and Daniil Kvyat could display the full strength of the STR11 chassis by placing sixth and seventh positions on the grid.
SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX – Qualifying results
It is a result that Sainz was delighted with, not least because it proves there is still speed in the car itself and that the recent lack of performance can be justified by the ageing engine and not the team's actions.
“[It's a] Big relief, but we need to keep our heads down because we know that this is the best track for us. I don't think in Austin and Suzuka we will perform at the level we are performing today. If the next seven tracks will be like Singapore then I would be very, very happy, but unfortunately it is not like that and we will go a bit backwards at the next races.
“At least we know that is just because of the engine thing and not because we just haven't developed or are going backwards. No, it is because there has been evolution on the engines and on the power tracks there is nothing we can do.”
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With Sainz slowest of any car in the speed traps, he was delighted with the result based almost solely on the speed he is carrying in the corners.
“Obviously we pay a penalty for that amount of downforce we have on the car. For these kinds of tracks though it is perfect because it is just pure downforce and not worrying too much about the drag and the top speed.
“I am the slowest in every speed trap. I am the slowest everywhere except for in the corners, so it shows in the corners the car is performing really well. So we can be really pleased with that.”
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