Carlos Sainz Jr feels his Scuderia Toro Rosso team were encouraged from its performance at the Hungaroring before the summer break, but believes this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix at the legendary Spa-Francorchamps circuit will be a much harder event for the team.
Despite being forced into retirement from the race in Hungary, Sainz admitted he was encouraged by the team’s pace, but thinks it will be a much different weekend in Belgium on a track where power is pretty much everything, although the Spaniard is hoping for a Canada-like weekend where the team had a good weekend despite being hampered by the lack of grunt from the Renault power unit.
“You can feel that everyone in the team is encouraged to keep pushing,” said Sainz. “After Hungary, we are one step closer to our target of finishing fifth in the Championship.
“We are all working flat-out together and this is a very good sign! We will need a kind of race like the one we had in Hungary to be able to be competitive in Spa.
“We know we’d be strong in sector two if we could run all the downforce we have, but the problem is that the straights in sectors one and three are so long, that we will have to take all that downforce off to be competitive. So we are hoping for some rain, that’s for sure!
“We will do our best to extract the maximum out of the car whatever the conditions are and try and do what we did in Canada; it was a solid weekend even if we didn’t have a competitive package.”
Sainz believes doing well at a circuit you like makes him like it even more, and has fond memories of his previous visit to the circuit, having won both races at Spa-Francorchamps on his way to the 2014 Formula Renault 3.5 Series title.
“The good memories will definitely give us a lot of energy and I will try and perform at the same level as I did there last year,” insisted Sainz. “In the Renault World Series last year in Spa I won back-to-back races in a very solid way and it really consolidated my championship chances as well as my position within the Red Bull Junior Team.
“There’s no doubt it’s my favourite track together with Silverstone, I really, really like it for so many reasons, it’s difficult to pick just one!
“Also, the fact of doing well there makes you like the circuit even more. I specially enjoy all the downhill section from the big long hairpin to Pouhon, the right-left at the end of sector two… It’s just a really exceptional track.”