Sainz left with questions after ’60 struggling laps’

Date published: October 11 2020

Carlos Sainz (McLaren) during the Eifel Grand Prix

Carlos Sainz was much happier with a result of P5 than the performance of his upgraded McLaren at the Eifel Grand Prix.

The Spaniard revealed he had driven “60 struggling laps” at the Nurburgring and been unable to challenge Daniel Ricciardo and Sergio Perez ahead of him in the quest for the final podium position behind Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

But at least he ultimately fared better than his team-mate Lando Norris, who had also been in front of him until suffering a power-unit failure and being forced to retire.

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“Definitely happy with the final result after the 60 struggling laps I did,” said Sainz, who leaves McLaren to join Ferrari at the end of this season.

“I never felt in contention with the battle unravelling in front of me. I have to be happy because I think we extracted the maximum today, but when the feeling with the car is not good and I had so much graining it’s difficult to accept.

“I wasn’t very happy with the feeling of the car and the way the race went. I was struggling with the balance, very similar to qualifying.

“Hopefully this gives us 60 laps of data to look into and analyse what’s going on because normally I should be happy with P5, but this weekend there are a few question marks we need to answer and quite a bit of homework going into the next couple of weeks to decide what we do for the future. A couple of important weeks to figure out what we do next.”

Pressed on what specifically was causing issues, Sainz added: “I can’t go into details. I will say I had a lot of graining and the balance of the car was quite far from ideal.

“Lando on the old package seemed to be happy and the car was running better. When I ran the old car in Russia, I was happy. When he ran the new bits, he was not too happy.”

Sainz admitted that losing FP1 and FP2 due to the weather on Friday had cost the team a good opportunity to learn more about how the upgrades were affecting the car.

“If we’d had Friday to develop this package, would it be a lot better than what it is now or is the package just not working as it should? That’s the biggest question mark we have,” he added.

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