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GP Week : Issue 224
A weekend that had started so well ultimately ended in disappointment for toro Rosso. The young duo of Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen ran towards the top of the timesheets during practice, leading many to predict bright things come the race. “When I compare high-speed performance, if we had the [Mercedes] engine, I think we would be P2 [after Mercedes],” boasted Verstappen on Thursday. “We look at GPS data after every session and compare ourselves with Ferrari, Williams and even Mercedes,” added Sainz. “After watching our data from Barcelona, I'm convinced that this car, with a very decent engine, will be fighting with Williams and, on some occasions, with Ferrari. “We looked at the data and Turn 3 and Turn 9 in Barcelona, only Mercedes was quicker than us.” All their optimism came to nothing however when both drivers failed to finish on Sunday. The reality check really came on Saturday in qualifying, when Verstappen could do no better than 13th. A throttle calibration problem was found overnight and big things were hoped for once again on Sunday but ultimately ended in the fence. “I didn't have the best of starts,” Verstappen admitted. “I was able to escape from the crashes that happened in front of me, but when the race restarted after the Safety Car period I suddenly lost the rear of the car at Turn 2. “Even though I only damaged the front wing a bit, I wasn't able to reverse and my race ended there.” Sainz’s race was slightly longer but equally disappointing. “During the first stint I struggled a bit, but as soon as I pitted for another set of tyres we picked up the pace and started to push,” explained the Spaniard. “From then on, it was all going really well, running comfortably in P9 and waiting for the rain to arrive, but suddenly my car just switched off and that was the end. It's a very frustrating way to end the weekend.” 28 GPWEEK.com // 28 GPWEEK.com // F1 >>> BRITAIN PARTNERS: reality Check