Carlos Sainz says it was a “relief” after scoring his first points for McLaren at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, who retired in Australia and Bahrain, crossed the line P7 in Baku, finally giving him some points on the board to match the potential he has shown early on in his McLaren career.
Speaking to reporters in Baku, he said: “On a personal level this one is a bit of a relief.
“After three races where I had the pace I had today, but just for a reason I still don’t understand three consecutive runs of bad luck happened to us. Today we didn’t have any issues and we just demonstrated what we are capable of doing.
“We had great pace all weekend really. It was a shame that I couldn’t use it yesterday in qualifying because of yellow flags, but today within eight laps I was back to where I wanted to be which was attacking the Force India in front.
“Since then we showed really good pace, we were managing the tyres to the end behind Lando [Norris] and [Sergio] Perez. That [Virtual] Safety Car gave Perez an extra half a second, second of lap time and we couldn’t pass him, but in general very happy.”
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) April 28, 2019
Norris dropped behind Sainz after making a pitstop in an attempt to put pressure on Perez ahead during a late Virtual Safety Car period. It didn’t quite work out as planned, but P8 for the rookie wasn’t bad at all.
Unsurprisingly, the 19-year-old had no regrets, telling the press: “I’m happy, as a team we didn’t win or lose points from where we were before the stop.
“We just wanted something to see if we could have a bigger advantage over Checo to get ahead as we didn’t have the straight line speed to pass him.
“It wasn’t a win or a loss in the end, just swapped positions basically. I’m happy with seventh and eighth, good points for the team.”
Norris confirmed that the decision to pit was a joint one between him and the team.
“It was both. I boxed to overtake so if he boxed I wouldn’t have boxed, and vice versa,” he explained.
“I could have easily said no I don’t think you’re right, or stay out, but just a chance to do something different, just something we tried, I believed in their decision.