Sainz: Shame couldn’t take P5 from Perez

Date published: August 16 2020

Carlos Sainz Alex Albon PA

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was rightfully pleased with P6 at the Spanish Grand Prix, but hoped to snatch P5 from Sergio Perez.

The Spaniard was plagued by cooling issues at the previous race at Silverstone, but he went into his home race with a new power unit and chassis which certainly improved his fortunes.

P6 kept Sainz’s 100% record of scoring points at his home race in-tact, and it was an impressive display which saw him win out in his battle against Alex Albon in the Red Bull who finished P8.

The only regret Sainz had was that he couldn’t take P5 from Perez who had been given a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags before being lapped by race winner Lewis Hamilton.

“It’s a shame because it would have been a top five,” he told reporters at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

“I got to know [about his penalty] something like eight laps from the end and I started doing very fast laps but unfortunately I got lapped by Max [Verstappen] and that made me lose a couple of seconds, which meant I couldn’t overtake Checo on the virtual gap.

“But still, to put on a fight with the Racing Points today with the race pace they had, I think we can still feel relatively proud about finishing P6 and putting on a fight.”

After the long runs of Friday practice Sainz had identified Renault as a benchmark for McLaren come the race, but they comfortably got the better of their rivals with Daniel Ricciardo scoring Renault’s best result in the race with P11.

“It looks like this weekend, we managed to get the car in the right window for qualifying,” Sainz explained.

“In the race, the first half of the race, we had more deg than our competitors and always with high fuel on the car, we struggled a bit more.

“Then all of a sudden when the car starts getting lighter, it looks like we come a bit alive. So some things here and there to improve and I’m sure we will be on the right track in the future.”

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Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris claimed a point after finishing P10, but he felt that result could have been improved upon if he had have “taken more risks”.

“There was potential for a lot more,” he said.

“I think on pure pace I was happy, the car was feeling good, we just struggling in the final sector which is the sector you need to be good in.

“I could always keep up in sector 1 and 2 and attack a little bit, but every time I got to the final chicane the traction from [Pierre] Gasly out of the chicane was much better than mine and I just could never do anything, couldn’t get close enough to attack into Turn 1.

“It was a shame because of the car feeling so good, that was pretty much my whole race, stuck behind Gasly, I tried some things with strategy but nothing really worked out in the end.

“I just didn’t risk enough into Turn 1 and that’s where I lost my position.

“Every little position is really going to help in the race, maybe I really should have risked more.

“It’s not something I’ve always been struggling with, I’ve improved a lot since last year and have been taking the right amount of risks, and this one I just didn’t take quite enough and it backfired on me.

“Sometimes you win from it, sometimes you lose from it.”

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