Carlos Sainz Jr: “We’ve made a big step forward”

Carlos Sainz Jr completed 51 laps on Monday - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Carlos Sainz Jr completed fifty-one laps around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday in the new-look Scuderia Toro Rosso STR12, and felt it was a positive day in his homeland.

The Spaniard finished eighth fastest for the Faenza-based team, and felt the downforce and grip levels of the STR12 were a massive step forward compared to the STR11 of 2016, something that pleased him straight from start of the test.

Sainz admitted that there were teething problems on Monday, but admits that he would have been surprised if it was completely smooth sailing right from the off, especially with such a change in regulations, with an issue coming at the front of the car that lost them some valuable track time.

“I end the day with a positive feeling after my first outing at the wheel of the STR12,” admitted Sainz. “Everything felt good and I’d say we’ve made a big step forward compared to last year in terms of downforce and grip – I felt it straight away during the first laps of the morning and it put a smile on my face.

“Of course it wasn’t the smoothest of days and we would’ve liked to complete more laps, but you know that this is always going to happen on the first day testing a brand new car. All in all, a decent first day and it’s great that the season has finally kicked-off!”