Carlos Sainz Jr equalled his career best finish for a second time in three races as the Scuderia Toro Rosso driver finished sixth in the Brazilian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had started fifteenth on the grid at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, and after deciding to stick on the full wet tyres during the race rather than gambling on intermediates, Sainz ran as high as fourth before both Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel found their way passed in the closing laps.
Sainz admitted it was an extremely tricky afternoon with the weather playing havoc, with aquaplaning a major issue in some of the faster turns, particular in turns thirteen and fourteen that are flat out in the dry.
“Well, the rain dance definitely worked and what a race that was!” insisted Sainz. “I’m super happy! To finish P6 after qualifying P15 yesterday is just amazing.
“I thought it was too risky to put the intermediates on and I asked the team to leave me out on extremes, and it worked! Today was all about a good strategy with no pit-stops for me and a strong pace with no mistakes.
“To do it in these difficult conditions just makes it even better. It was so hard to drive out there today – it was very, very difficult to keep the car on track at times! It was really tricky, especially in the aquaplaning areas like Turns 13 and 14…
“Particularly during the Safety Car restarts, when you are racing at 300kph and you can’t see absolutely anything, it’s risky! Having said that, I really enjoyed it today, I love the rain – I’ve always been strong in the wet, since I’m a kid in go-karting and today was no exception.”
Sainz admitted the team can be proud of their efforts, and it proves that the even playing field provided by the extreme weather proved that the STR11 chassis is indeed a good one, and the eight points achieved was well deserved.
“We can also be very proud as a team, as we were matching the pace of the top runners in the wet, which means that our car is actually a very good one and that we’ve done an excellent job all weekend – I’d like to congratulate everyone for this!” insisted Sainz.
“To bring back home another 8 points when we were not expecting many more is great news, I’m over the moon – I have to say that this second half of the season is full of surprises for us and I definitely welcome them!”