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Toro Rosso's Sainz surprised Malaysian GP start not delayed

Carlos Sainz Jr was "surprised" FIA Formula 1 director Charlie Whiting did not abort the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix when his Toro Rosso stalled on the grid

Felipe Massa's Williams was left stranded as cars left the Sepang grid for the formation lap, but cleared by the time the F1 field returned and Sainz's Ferrari engine switched off.

Malaysian Grand Prix driver ratings

Quick thinking from Sainz and his engineer ensured the car was restarted through the MGU-K, and the Spaniard even moved from 15th to 11th on the first lap.

But amid a hold before the first of the five red lights came on, with yellow lights also flashing, Sainz did not expect the race to start as normal.

"They were waiting for me, probably," Sainz said, when asked about the start by Autosport.

"I guess that was because they didn't know whether or not to put a yellow [flag] to do another [formation] lap.

"But I don't understand how, when the lights started to turn on, they did a start with a car completely stopped.

"I was definitely surprised the race started."

Sainz was also at a loss to explain why the engine switched off, while warming the clutch.

"Normally when you are doing a clutch warming, and you do it a bit aggressively, you catch some anti-stall," he said.

"This time it didn't happen, so it was a very surprising event, but we managed to switch the engine back on with the one thing we have on the steering wheel to do that.

"I was aware of it because we tried it earlier in the season, but when the engine switches off the only thing you think of is, 'shit, it's all over!'

"Suddenly my engineer reminded me on the radio quickly, but the first time we tried to switch it on it didn't work.

"The second time, thank God again it happened just when the five lights were on, and at that point, 'voom', I was off when the lights went off."

Despite his first-lap gains, Sainz had to settle for 11th after failing to close in on Jolyon Palmer in the final stint, on soft tyres that were six laps fresher.

Renault put Palmer on a one-stop strategy, compared to Sainz's two, which helped him take the final point after Lewis Hamilton's late retirement.

"[Renault's] strategy definitely paid off," said Sainz.

"They were also ahead in qualifying, so they were always going to have better pace than us [in the race], especially with Kevin [Magnussen].

"He qualified with a used set [of soft tyres], and he had three tenths on us.

"In the last stint I had fresher tyres, and I was pushing for 16 quali laps, but they were a tiny bit quicker, which we don't like. We didn't expect that."

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