Carlos Sainz Jr.: ‘The midfield is extremely tight.’

Sainz Jr. during Friday practice
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Carlos Sainz Jr. dubbed his first Friday of the 2018 FIA Formula 1 season ‘calm’ and ‘fairly straightforward‘, but knows just how tight things are in the midfield pack.

The Renault Sport Formula One Team driver finished Free Practice 1 with the ninth quickest time and then was eleventh fastest in Free Practice 2 later in the day. He was ahead of team-mate Nico Hulkenberg, who was thirteenth fastest in both of the practice sessions.

There were several teams all fighting for position in the midfield battle, with the biggest threats from Friday coming from the Haas F1 Team and the McLaren F1 Team. Sainz knows that the competition will be fierce to try and earn the ‘best of the rest spot’ that has fallen to the Sahara Force India F1 Team over the last few seasons.

It was a calm and fairly straightforward day for me and that was great to have for the first Friday of the season,” he commented. “The midfield is extremely tight so it’s difficult to say where we’ll be tomorrow.”

The Spaniard felt there was room for improvement to be made with regards to the use of the ultrasoft tyre, as they were unable to get a clean lap with it on Friday.

“We do need to work on getting the Ultrasoft working a bit better as we didn’t manage a clean lap with it today. Conditions were great on track; it was an ideal day for Melbourne, but I think tomorrow we might have more of a challenge.”