McLaren keep themselves firmly in P3 battle

Jamie Woodhouse

McLaren score vital points in Turkey to stay in P3 battle.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz said the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix was one of the “hardest” races of his career, but his P5 could be vital.

Sainz started the race from P15 on what had been a difficult weekend for McLaren as they struggled to find performance in Istanbul, whether it be in the dry or the wet.

But Sainz delivered an assured performance in the wet, pulling off a two-stop strategy to finish all the way up in P5.

Working his way up through the top 10, passing the likes of Lance Stroll and Alex Albon, Sainz almost took P4 from Charles Leclerc on the final lap but it wasn’t to be.

Nonetheless, Sainz was rightfully delighted with his performance, saying the Turkish GP was one of the “hardest” races of his career.

And those 10 points were vital to somewhat counter the 18 scored by Sergio Perez for P2. The end result means Racing Point are now up to P3 in the Constructors’ Championship with McLaren in P4 only five points adrift.

“Very, very good day for us after a disappointing Saturday,” he told the McLaren website.

“We managed to put together a very strong race under super tricky conditions. I had a very good start, picking up six places, switching on the tyres and keeping a solid pace with both compounds.

“From there, I managed to pull off some good overtakes to finish P5. I definitely rate this race as one of the hardest I’ve done in F1 so far and I’m very happy to have recovered 10 positions in these conditions.

“I’m also happy for the entire team because it looks like we saved a tough weekend with both cars again in the points.”

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Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris also put in a solid recovery job from P16 on the grid to finish P8, a result he wasn’t expecting to achieve.

The Briton also claimed a bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race.

“Especially the second half of the race was a lot of fun, it was just very difficult to overtake,” he said in the media pen after the Turkish Grand Prix.

“Normally in the wet you can do all different lines but everyone was doing the same line because that’s where the grip was, so it proved very difficult in the first half of the race to do anything different to people with strategy and overtaking.

“So it didn’t start well, and wasn’t looking too hopeful, but as soon as I had clear air the car came alive and we had really good pace.

“Managed to get into P8 which I definitely wasn’t thinking of after my terrible start, a good recovery I think, and we did everything we could from where we were position-wise on Lap 1.

“Good points for the team and I think that’s the main thing.”

So exactly how did Norris manage to turn his race around?

“I think we were just quite patient with a lot of things, by the half-way point it wasn’t looking that good,” he explained.

“We did an overcut on some people, I got two or three overtakes on an overcut and then just managed the tyres really well.

“I had a long stint to do on the inters at the end, but I managed them really well, a bit better than what Daniel [Ricciardo] and Lance [Stroll] did so that’s why I had better pace.

“The inters wore out that much that they turned into a slick tyre, a very soft slick tyre, so the car was feeling the best it did all weekend, it gave me a lot of confidence.”

Of course the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix will go down in the history books as the race where Lewis Hamilton equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of seven World Championships.

“Oh congrats to Lewis as well, seven World titles…not a bad job,” Norris said with a smile.

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