McLaren apologises for ‘destroying’ Sainz’s race

Michelle Foster
Carlos Sainz McLaren

Qualifying third for the Styrian GP, Carlos Sainz had hoped for a strong result only for his race to be undone by a slow pit stop.

Sainz was in flying form in the wet on Saturday at the Red Bull Ring, claiming third place on the grid.

However, in the dry on Sunday, his pace was lacking compared to some of those behind him.

Sainz was quickly overtaken by Valtteri Bottas and Alexander Albon to run P5.

Coming in for his only stop of the afternoon on lap 32, the Spaniard was stationary for 7.2s as his McLaren mechanics struggled with his rear left.

He dropped all the way down to 13th.

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Sainz recovered to finish the grand prix in ninth place but it wasn’t the result the Ferrari-bound driver had hoped for.

Andreas Seidl has apologised, conceding that McLaren hamstrung the driver.

GPFans quotes the McLaren team boss as having said: “We went through a bit of a roller-coaster during the race, especially during the pit stop of Carlos’s car where we destroyed his race.

“It didn’t look that great at some points during the race, and then sending Carlos out into heavy traffic where he ruined his tyres, there was no chance for him to fight back and obviously, I am sorry.

“I want to say sorry to him and apologise that we didn’t do our job in this aspect, because it’s our job as a team to make sure both drivers always get the same opportunities, and they can battle it out on track.

“That’s something we [will] analyse within the team.

“We’re in this together. It’s clear that we have to get better there.”

Despite his own frustrations, Sainz played the team game to McLaren’s benefit.

With Lando Norris sitting behind his team-mate but clearly the faster of the two drivers, McLaren ordered a driver swap in the Brit’s favour on lap 61.

Norris went shooting past his team-mate, hunting down Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll before passing Sergio Perez on the final lap to finish fifth.

Seidl added: “After it was clear that Carlos, unfortunately, had to destroy his tyres after we sent him into heavy traffic after the delay pit stop, it was clear that Lando had the better momentum with the better tyres.

“It was nice to see that both guys, with all the interest they have also for themselves, understand that, in the end, it’s about achieving the best result for the team.”

Sainz pitted late in the grand prix to put on a set of soft tyres and take the point for the fastest lap of the grand prix.

The Spaniard is seventh in the championship on 13 points after two rounds with Norris third on 26.

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