Carlos the comeback kid, Daniil unlucky again

Carlos the comeback kid, Daniil unlucky again

June 27, 2017

There are many official rules in motor racing, but possibly top of the list of the unofficial ones is "Do not crash into your team-mate." Carlos Sainz clearly has that notion embedded in his subconscious as he spun his car on the opening lap of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix on Sunday, spotting Daniil Kvyat coming on track after running wide and wanting to avoid hitting him at all costs.

This was just the first of a long list of moments during this year's Azerbaijan Grand Prix. On this super narrow track did the fact that the 2017 cars are wider than last year's have something to do with it? Was it down to the new tyres? Whatever the reasons, Sunday's eighth round of the world championship was a real crowd pleaser, with lots of overtaking, four Safety Car periods to bunch everyone up and even a red flag moment, which left the remaining drivers with a one third distance sprint to the chequered flag on fresh tyres.

The massively long straight on this street circuit – the longest of the whole season – was one of the reasons why we knew this would be a tough weekend for us and the STR12 package. However, the Toro Rosso crew made steady progress throughout the three free practice sessions, which were difficult for everyone with so many yellow flags: it's fair to say that if some F1 fans didn't realise the cars have a reverse gear, they do now, after so many drivers took to the narrow escape road near the castle and had to back out of it!

Azerbaijan GP - Gallery


We didn't have very high hopes for qualifying, but good performances saw Daniil secure eleventh place on the grid with Carlos one place behind him – although the Spaniard would therefore start 15th because of the grid penalty imposed a fortnight ago in Canada. A four place difference on the grid wasn't enough to prevent our two drivers getting too close for comfort after Daniil locked his front left shortly after the start, running wide which led to Carlos spinning his way to the back of the pack. Our Russian driver should have finished in the points, but that was not to be and currently, we are pulling his STR12 apart in the factory to identify the cause of the electrical shutdown that left him stranded at the side of the track. Carlos continues to pick up points and on Sunday he recovered with his usual no-nonsense head-down keep-it-all-together drive, back up the order to eight place, keeping out of trouble and picking off other cars whenever possible.

Williams, our closest rivals in the Constructors' championship had an excellent weekend, with Lance Stroll becoming the youngest driver to stand on an F1 podium in his rookie season, as the Canadian finished third. It means they have slipped ahead of us in the battle for fifth place. Toro Rosso knows all about training young rookies, so we won't be too angry with them on this occasion! They did a good job, as did our former driver and Baku winner, Daniel Ricciardo. Our congratulations go to him and his team for the great victory!

But all those sportsmanlike thoughts get put aside now as we prepare for the next round at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. There's an obvious clue in the circuit name as to why we have a particular reason to want to do well at this beautiful track in the Styrian mountains. That and the fact it's the home race for our team boss Franz Tost.