Sainz: ‘Easy’ points thrown away at pit-stop

Date published: August 9 2020

Carlos Sainz PA

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was left frustrated again after a problem in the pits cost him “easy” points at the 70th Anniversary GP.

The Spaniard was slow away from his first pit stop on Lap 23, and the fact that he then had to stop himself to avoid coming out into the path of Esteban Ocon held him up further.

That put Sainz out of the points and stuck in a train of midfield runners – in the end he would finish a lowly P13.

Maybe Sainz should have been thankful that his race went beyond Lap 1 after narrowly avoiding the spinning Sebastian Vettel, but it’s easy to understand why he feels as though “nothing goes right” for him at the moment.

“Another strong start, I tried to avoid Sebastian [Vettel] into Turn 1 and then we were just cruising,” he told reporters at Silverstone.

“After the first round of pit stops I stayed out on the hard tyre, we were starting to overcut everyone, to create a big tyre delta would have put me in a very strong position for the rest of the race.

“But again, another five seconds lost in the pit stop, from then I’m back into traffic and back into a very bad position.

“So all that hard work was undone. Another tough day, I’m starting to get a bit frustrated and out of words because nothing seems to go right for me at the moment.

“But I drove well today, I was happy with how the race was going, I just need to turn the page quickly.”

Asked if he would have scored points without that issue in the pits, Sainz said: “Yes, pretty easy.

“All the hard work was done in that first stint and I think we were looking strong after that.

“I don’t think it’s the guys’ faults, I don’t want to be tough with anyone, I think we had a mechanical failure at the pitstop.

“It’s not something to be tough about, but as the competitive driver that I am, I’m obviously very disappointed.”

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Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris was able to finish P9 to collect two points, one place up on his starting position.

But he felt the softer rubber which Pirelli brought to the 70th Anniversary GP, compared to the compounds available at the British GP, also held at Silverstone on the weekend prior, did little to help his race.

“I felt like I needed to do a three-stop,” he said when asked if he considered a one-stop strategy.

“I felt like I was saving the tyres a lot, but the more I saved them the worse it was. It was just a very tough race, the tyre management side of it was everything.

“It sucks because you can’t tussle with people as much as you want, I just knew if I pushed any more my tyres would go off the cliff and it’s game over.

“It sucks, it takes a little bit of the edge away from the racing. Alex [Albon] got past me and I just had to box and do something else because I had no chance to actually battle with him.

“Not a fun race from the aspect of tyre management, but I guess it was still fun in trying to manage the tyres and make the most of the position I was in which was P9.

“I tried to get past [Esteban] Ocon at the end but I couldn’t quite.”

McLaren have been a consistent feature of Q3 so far this season, regularly challenging for the higher spots on the grid, but this time around Norris only managed to qualify P10, whilst Sainz missed out on Q3.

And considering the fact that little progress was made during the race, Norris feels this is more representative of McLaren’s true performance.

“Yeah absolutely,” he said when the question was put to him.

“We got ahead of AlphaTauri, they did a really good job yesterday [in qualifying]. They didn’t pull it out of nothing because we knew they were there, but they were quite a long way ahead of us yesterday.

“So to finish ahead of them was good, The Renaults I think had much better pace still.

“Ocon was on a one-stop and I think it’s a very tricky thing to do unless you can look after the tyres which he did, and we had no chance today.

“So there are big differences between the cars, and tyre management I think is a big weakness for us.

“It’s something we need to focus on probably already for next weekend [in Spain].

“Apart from that I think we’re still happy to get those two points even though it didn’t feel like a great race from inside the car.”

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