Sainz: McLaren have done the ‘unthinkable’

Carlos Sainz says McLaren have done the "unthinkable" after both drivers made it into Q3 in Bahrain.

Carlos Sainz says McLaren have done the "unthinkable" after both drivers made it into Q3 in Bahrain.

McLaren got both cars into Q3 in Bahrain, something which Carlos Sainz says is “unthinkable” after their 2018 form.

After looking strong throughout qualifying, the Spaniard secured P7 on the grid for tomorrow, while team-mate Lando Norris moved into P9 after Romain Grosjean’s penalty, meaning both McLarens made it into the top-ten shootout for the first time since 2017.

“Congratulations to all the team, because we got both cars in Q3, which is something that hasn’t happened for a long time at this team,” Sainz told reporters at the Bahrain International Circuit.

“It shows we are working well, we are going in the right direction.

“A tough winter and the second half of last year trying to understand the problems with last year’s car is now starting to pay off.

“We are learning, we are improving the car and today we are here, nearly as the best of the rest, which was unthinkable three or four months ago. We were half a second off this.”

McLaren ended the day just half a second down on the Mercedes, and Sainz, who retired in the season-opener after an MGU-K failure, is at a loss as to where this form has come from.

“It’s hard to understand why we are so close or why everything has tightened up,” he said.

“It’s better, more fun for the spectators. I think today we nearly beat a Red Bull, and we were nearly two seconds behind last year.

“We beat a Red Bull, Gasly, actually. It’s all a bit strange but that’s better.”

Norris followed up his P8 qualy finish in Melbourne with another solid effort in Sakhir, but he was slightly annoyed with a few mistakes which crept into his run.

“To have both cars in Q3 is very positive for the team, we’ve taken some small steps forward,” said the Brit. “It gives us a lot of confidence, for all of us.

“I made a couple of mistakes here and there, nothing big, a little lock-up into turn 10 which is quite tricky. I pushed a little too much.

“It’s still Q3, and I’m pretty happy with that.”

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