Sainz feared tyre gamble would backfire

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Carlos Sainz Jnr admitted he doubted he had made the right decision by gambling to start the Chinese Grand Prix on slick tyres.

The Toro Rosso driver was the only person in the 20-car field not to leave the grid on intermediate tyres.

2017 Chinese Grand Prix in pictures
“You must’ve seen the faces of my engineers when I told them I was going on super-softs,” he said after the race “They looked at me like I was a bit crazy.”

“It’s a funny moment now but when I saw everyone on the inters I couldn’t believe it. I thought I was maybe too risky for sure.”

However despite a slow initial getaway Sainz was able to stay in touch with the pack which paid off when the rest pitted for slicks.

“I knew everyone was going to pass me in the first four corners but suddenly in turn six the track was fully dry and I could catch the pack back and everyone pitted,” he said. “And I said ‘now I’m the lever one and the risk has paid off’.”

Sainz said his tyre gamble wasn’t the only reason he eventually finished seventh. “I don’t think we only won our race there,” he said. “Also the pace on the super-softs, catching the Ferraris, the Red Bulls that yesterday were one or two seconds quicker on a damp track was also a great achievement I think.”

He also made an error early in the race which dropped him temporarily behind Fernando Alonso’s McLaren.

“I shouldn’t have passed him because I did this little spin under the Safety Car,” said Sainz, “but from then onwards I had a lot more pace and managed to get through.”

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    6 comments on “Sainz feared tyre gamble would backfire”

    1. Inspired gamble, SAI. This guy’s got tremendous potential in my estimation. Let’s hope the bigwigs recognize your talent soon and give you a shot with one of the top rides🙏

      1. Ferrari, Seb fan
        9th April 2017, 11:08


    2. He’s 2 points behind Ricciardo in the standings lol. Good job Sainz!

    3. No mention about him spinning on his slicks and then even hitting the wall on the way back to track? Hmm…
      But hey, I like it when drivers take a gamble in these conditions and was surprised Alonso didn’t follow suit “I take slicks, because we’re too slow in the drrrrrry”.

      1. I cannot believe he drove into the wall, he did not even try to brake. Reminded me of Maldanado.

      2. I’m glad somebody mentioned this as it is nowhere in the article, although he didn’t do any serious damage, surely this would have hurt his catching up to the pack. Also would be worth mentioning since this article is about him thinking that his idea had backfired, surely spinning out and then hitting the wall wouldn’t have filled him or his race engineers with confidence in his strategy!

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