Desert Orchid - Q&A with Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz sealed his second points finish in his new colours in Australia, but the season-opener leaves him thirsty for more in the Middle East.

How do you feel after the first race of the season?
Having both cars in the points is a very positive start for the team and we can be proud of the weekend. From my side, I felt more confident with the car as the sessions went by and I’m confident there are still many setups to explore. Scoring points at the first Grand Prix of the year is always important and the pace was there, so I can´t wait to jump into the car in Bahrain.

What are the main characteristics of the Bahrain International Circuit?
It can be tough on the braking system, and some braking points change slightly throughout the weekend due to the timings of the sessions. We take references from Free Practice 2, which is very important as it’s the only session representative of the race conditions. It’s always cool racing at night and under the lights, which makes this race one of the more unique of the calendar.

How challenging is a lap?
In general, it’s quite a standard lap with some flowing corners and long straights, which should bring overtaking opportunities. Turns 9-10 are the trickiest on the circuit. In fact, it might be one of the most challenging sequences of the season, as you have to brake and turn at the same time making it easy to lock-up. Turn 12 is an interesting one, because one lap you can go flat there if the wind is on your side, but then you try the same thing the next lap and it’s impossible because of a change in wind direction. Turn 1 is a good overtaking spot on the brakes.

Given the schedule of the event, do you get time to explore Bahrain?
The adapted schedule to fit in with the evening race start frees up some time to spend mornings relaxing, having a swim or doing some sports, which is nice. There is also a go karting track next to the Formula 1 circuit, which is one of the coolest karting tracks I’ve ever driven. I also try to play golf before the race weekend starts. Bahrain has a very cool golf course which can be played at night! A bit like racing under the lights which is not very common!