Carlos Sainz says he feels “very sorry” for his Toro Rosso mechanics after crashing out of a shortened qualifying session for the US Grand Prix.
Although many cars ran wide or spun at rain-hit Circuit of the Americas on Sunday morning, the Spaniard caused a red flag in the early stages of Q1 and was the only driver eliminated because of an accident.
“I'm disappointed, obviously,” said Sainz. “We had shown good pace in the wet during the weekend, but when I arrived to Turn 3 there was so much standing water that I just aquaplaned, lost the car and couldn't do anything about it.
“It's a shame that it happened at the corner where the wall is the closest to you and I couldn't manage to avoid it – if not it would've been a simple spin and I would've been able to continue!”
With both qualifying and the grand prix taking place on the same day due to poor weather conditions at Austin, Toro Rosso is now facing a race against the clock to repair Sainz’ STR10. Provided that the Italian squad pulls this off, the former Formula Renault 3.5 Series champion believes he has the tools to make amends.
“I'm a rookie and I just need to learn from this mistake, which will make me stronger. I'm very sorry for the guys in the garage, who have to work against time and get the car ready for the race. We have the pace to move forward and I hope to reward the team with a good result!”
Sainz will start from the back of the grid for the second consecutive time after Sochi, where a massive shunt in FP3 had prevented him from taking part in qualifying altogether.
Meanwhile, fellow Toro Rosso debutant Max Verstappen managed to tip-toe his way into Q3 before race control elected to cancel the final part of qualifying due to worsening track conditions.
The Dutchman clocked the 10th fastest time in Q2 but has been promoted to P8 on the grid, courtesy of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen's penalties for using an upgraded Ferrari power unit this weekend.
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