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Sainz: Canada fightback proves Toro Rosso’s strength

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Carlos Sainz Jr. believes that his fightback from 20th on the grid to finish ninth in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix proves the strength of the Toro Rosso team and the progress it is making.

Sainz crashed out in the second stage of qualifying on Saturday, leaving him in need of a new gearbox that relegated him to 20th place on the grid.

The Spaniard battled his way up the order through Sunday’s race, ultimately crossing the line ninth – a result he believed to be out of reach after his shunt in qualifying.

“A really good race for me today here in Montreal! If you had told me before the race that I would have finished in P9 after starting P20, I would’ve probably signed immediately!” Sainz enthused.

“I’m really happy to have made it back into the points, I enjoyed it a lot out there. We chose the right moment for our first pit-stop, going for the undercut, and I then did five or six qualifying laps on the soft tire, which allowed me to overtake five or six cars and keep up with the Force India.

“Even if I hadn’t made yesterday’s mistake in qualifying, more than a P8 this weekend was impossible, so we can be happy and satisfied with our weekend.

“A result like today’s shows that we are strong and that we are constantly improving. Today we did the right strategy and good pit-stops, so I’d like to congratulate the whole team for this weekend, it’s been great!”

Teammate Daniil Kvyat found himself battling for the final points-paying position late on, but was unable to stay ahead of Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso, leaving him P12 at the checkered flag.

“If I say the truth, it was quite a boring race today,” Kvyat said.

“We were trying to fight for that last point with Perez, but they were just that bit faster and we didn’t manage to get in front of him. We then switched to the ultra-soft tires for the last stint, but the set didn’t quite give us what we expected and they got destroyed while battling with the other cars around us.

“Unfortunately, I spent most of my race stuck behind a car and in traffic. Luckily the next race is just around the corner, so we can start thinking of that straight away and forget about today.

“But looking at the positives, it was a clean weekend for me, something which I needed. We were able to finish the race, as well as get important data for myself and the team, to learn as much as we can.

“We now need to start showing some performance and I hope we do this starting from Baku next week.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.