Just four days after another points scoring race in Budapest, Carlos Sainz was sitting down for his usual Thursday press meeting, this time in the Hockenheim paddock, prior to Sunday’s German GP.
“We know more or less where we are going to spend the rest of the season, keeping a close eye on what McLaren and Force India are doing,” he said. “Depending on the track, our position should be between the fourth and seventh team. In Budapest we looked like the sixth or seventh team in Free Practice, but we turned things around and had an unexpectedly good quali. That meant we were in a position to battle with McLaren on Sunday. The mid-field is very close between us, those two teams and Williams. It’s good fun.”
Car set-up as always will give the drivers and engineers plenty to do here in Germany. “As for this weekend, we are looking at the usual compromise between drag and top speed,” the Spaniard explained: “I don’t know how much rear wing we will have to take off to make sure we don’t lose too much speed and so that we are able to overtake. You need to be sure you can go through traffic, but we also need to run enough rear wing to be quick enough in the final sector. It’s a tricky situation.”
Overall, Carlos is a fan of this track: “I last drove here in Formula 3 in 2012 and I like it, because it’s old-skool, with a bit of banking and some tight corners and decent kerbs to play with. I used to enjoy it in the past and so in an F1 I should enjoy it even more.”
Unlike his team-mate, Daniil has raced here in Formula 1, two years ago. “It was a good weekend overall and I had a strong qualifying (he was 8th) but then in the race I was unable to finish.
“Now we are at the second of two back-to-back races and as Hungary didn’t go great, I’m planning on working hard with the team to ensure we have a better Hockenheim. That’s what I’m focussing on,” he added.
While it’s true that Daniil has had a difficult time since returning to Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Russian is professional enough to keep calm and work through it. “We just have to be constructive in the way of working with my engineers, trying to build up a good baseline together so that we can go faster,” he said. “We just need to stay focused and I’m sure we can get some good performances and then everything will be fine. The summer break will be a good thing, especially for me: after everything that’s been going on it will be good to disconnect for a while. But for now, the important thing is to try and have a good race under our belt before the break begins.”