Sainz makes strides, gains, in second Red Bull run

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In July 2013, Carlos Sainz Jr. made his testing debut in Red Bull’s then all-conquering RB9 chassis at Silverstone. It was a day to learn the car and introduce his name to the Formula One world at large, and he did a good job of it, ending just a tenth off Sebastian Vettel.

Today, Sainz Jr. had his second run in the team’s 2014 chassis, the RB10. This year’s test carries a bit more significance. Sainz is fresh off winning the World Series by Renault title and earned the test as a result of that.

Crucially, of course, he remains in the frame as one of the top candidates for the vacant Toro Rosso seat alongside Max Verstappen in 2015. If chosen, it would make for an all-rookie lineup.

Sainz banked 100 laps today and ended fifth on the timesheets, top of the Renault-powered drivers. Feeling more comfortable than he did his first go-around, despite the year-plus gap between tests, Sainz had a number of positives to take away from the afternoon.

“It felt really good to be honest,” he said, via the team’s website. “Obviously I had a reference from the test at Silverstone last year in the RB9 and I could build up little by little, as it was a long day and I think I did 100 laps. From the first lap I felt comfortable and felt at home, so I was able to push.”

Red Bull’s race engineering coordinator Andy Damerum praised Sainz’s feedback.

“A very busy day in which I think we got through a total of 26 outings,” Damerum said. “Some of those were obviously conditional on the red flags we saw today, but Carlos got through 100 laps, which is great for a rookie. He tested for us at Silverstone last year and since then he’s been in our simulator.

“His feedback is excellent and I think he has improved again over the past year. He’s obviously familiar with our car in the virtual world but it’s always a very different prospect on track and today he handled that really well.”

It remains to be seen whether Sainz will get the call-up for 2015, but he didn’t do himself any harm today. Daniel Ricciardo takes over the car on Wednesday.