Sainz: McLaren one of most difficult cars to pass

Finley Crebolder
Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris

Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris

Carlos Sainz is finding the car he was in last year, the McLaren, one of the most difficult ones to overtake on track.

The Spaniard left the British team to join McLaren at the end of the 2020 season and was replaced by Daniel Ricciardo, whom he spent most of the British Grand Prix stuck behind.

He had more pace than the Aussie but, due to a poor pit-stop, ended up behind him and couldn’t find a way past before the end of the race, crossing the line in P6.

Such a problem is something he’s had a number of times in 2021, and he feels that, with their Mercedes engines, Ricciardo and Lando Norris are two of the hardest drivers to get past.

“Unfortunately, it has happened to me now a few times that stuck behind a McLaren I am not able to pass,” Sainz said as per

“It’s not news, they have a very strong straight-line speed, very strong deployment and power on exit of corners and it is probably one of the most difficult cars to overtake.”

“Yeah, unfortunately we were a step behind Ricciardo the whole race. First on the medium, then we actually managed to overcut him with a very strong pace during the cleaner laps but unfortunately after the slow pit-stop, I had to go behind him again.

“On the hard tyre it was even more difficult to overtake him because it just felt like the hard tyre in the high speed could not take the load of the dirty air and I was understeering a lot more, and I couldn’t keep up with him in the high speed.

“Even though I had DRS I wasn’t close enough to him to try to get him.”

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It wasn’t the first time this year that a Ferrari has had more pace than a McLaren but has ultimately finished behind due to getting stuck in traffic.

Mattia Binotto and co have indeed identified this as one of their car’s weaknesses.

“I think if you look at the Austria comparisons, Norris was on the podium doing a fantastic race,” he said, quoted by

“But if we analyse, his race pace in Austria was very similar to ours but we were simply stuck in traffic. And I think being ahead from the start of the race is key somehow.

“At Silverstone, Charles was in front and we could do our own pace. If you compare our two drivers, one of them [Carlos Sainz] was stuck behind and the other had clean air.

“When Carlos was in clean air he had the pace of Charles. So I think that’s not our pace.”