Carlos Sainz Jr admitted he was happy to be amongst the midfield on Friday after ending second practice in eleventh position at the Sepang International Circuit.
Sainz set a best time of 1:36.836 in the afternoon to finish just outside the top ten in Malaysia, having finished fifteenth in the morning session with a time of 1:38.055.
The Scuderia Toro Rosso driver was expecting to have a far less competitive weekend in Malaysia compared to Singapore two weeks ago, so was delighted to show relative competitiveness, with Sainz feeling it was an interesting day as everyone got used to the newly resurfaced circuit.
“I think it’s been a very interesting day for us here today,” said Sainz. “The fact that the track has been resurfaced means it’s like being at a new track – we’ve been around three seconds quicker already compared to last year and it’s still only free practice.
“It’s definitely being a new challenge, with faster lap times, and I have to say that the car feels amazing to drive as there’s a lot of grip out there, so I’m enjoying it! Now we need to work towards tomorrow.
“As expected, we are not as strong as in Singapore, but also not as bad as in Monza or Spa, so I look forward to the rest of the weekend – it’s nice to be battling with the rest of the midfield… We will keep fighting!”