Sainz apologises to McLaren crew for Sochi crash

Jamie Woodhouse

Carlos Sainz has apologised to McLaren after placing “unnecessary stress” on his crew with a crash during FP1 at the Russian Grand Prix.

Sainz brought out the first yellow flag of the 2020 Russian Grand Prix weekend as he got it wrong at Turn 7, spun his McLaren and hit the barrier damaging his rear wing.

The Spaniard limped back to the pits leaving behind a few pieces of wing on his way. That became a Virtual Safety Car as the marshals picked up the pieces, literally.

But it was over to his team to pick up the proverbial pieces from Sainz’s error, a challenge which they rose to by getting their driver’s MCL35 ready for the afternoon session with Sainz going on to finish P4.

And Sainz was full of praise for his mechanics, whilst also apologising to them for causing “unnecessary stress”.

“Everything [is] OK, thank God the mechanics did a great job to get the car back together for FP2 – so very happy with that,” he told reporters at the Sochi Autodrom.

“And some apologies for the team, for causing them unnecessary stress in FP1. But the track was particularly dirty there and I think it caught us out there by surprise. In FP2, we could get back to business and complete a good session.”

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It’s a case of fine margins in 2020 thanks to how close the battle is between the midfield teams.

McLaren currently hold P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, but Ferrari down in P6 are only 40 points behind the Woking outfit.

It seems the team of particular concern this weekend though are Renault who have 23 points to make up on McLaren from P5 in the standings.

Daniel Ricciardo finished P2 in the morning session at Sochi, and then P3 in FP2, 0.146s ahead of Sainz.

And while Sainz hopes to get a firm grip on Renault come Saturday, he admits that they once again are looking very strong.

“They definitely seemed to have the edge over us in the last couple of races, especially on Friday they tend to be very, very quick, so hopefully we can get them tomorrow, but in general Renault look a bit strong,” he admitted.

If McLaren are to take the fight to Renault in qualifying, then Sainz feels the balance of his car needs addressing.

“It [aero set-up] is very tricky, particularly my car today, we’ve been tending to be a bit on the understeer-y side so I was complaining a bit about the balance – but hopefully when it comes tomorrow we’ll get it right. We’re not that far off actually,” he explained.

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