Carlos Sainz has said the McLaren team must be “proud and happy” with what they have achieved on the opening day of testing in Barcelona.
The Spaniard finished the day in P2, four tenths behind the leading time of 1:18.161 from Sebastian Vettel in the Ferrari and clocked up 119 laps in the MCL34 – already more than a quarter of McLaren’s 2018 pre-season total of 425.
Sainz did suffer one on-track stoppage just after the lunch break, but that was nothing more than a minor incident and a far cry from the horror shows that have happened in seasons past.
“I think everyone in the team has to be proud, has to be happy,” said Sainz.
“The hard work over the winter, the plan we put together to have the car early for the presentation and to be out on track at nine o’clock [has paid off].
“This afternoon we completed some long runs, we finished the day with the red flags at six o’clock.
“So it was definitely a good way to start, and definitely people here at the track are happy. But we must not forget all the people back at Woking who are the main ones who put together this car.”
Hard work pays off! Everyone in McLaren has put a huge amount of effort into this car and 120 laps are the best way to prove it. Being the second fastest car out there is anecdotal but it has been a very positive first day. Time to keep working and move forward.#carlo55ainz #F1 pic.twitter.com/EYwRJv6nAS
— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) February 18, 2019
McLaren may have not much to show for themselves over recent years, but Sainz feels like the quality the team does possess is continuing to shine through.
“Well, I realise the quality there is at McLaren since the day I arrived at the team,” he added.
“That has never been a question, and even before arriving at the team, I had a lot of trust in this team.
“In six years you cannot forget how to make fast cars, although we are still far away from where we want to be.
“But I like when I see the car, the attention to detail; the steering, how the seat is done. You can see there is professional people, tidy people, a clean atmosphere and I definitely like that.
“Although, in performance as I said, we are still not where we want to be and a long way to go.”