Japanese Grand Prix – McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished, once again, as best of the rest in Japan as he scored P5 at Suzuka.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz, not for the first time this season, led the battle of the midfield by finishing in P5 at Suzuka. The Spaniard had a hard fought Japanese GP after starting from P7 on the grid. A good getaway initially had him past the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton before the reigning Champion swooped decisively past again into Turn 3.
Sainz was the highest placed finisher to employ a one stop strategy, having started on the Soft tyre. At exactly half distance on Lap 26, he swapped over to the Medium tyre and proceeded to keep the recovering Ferrari of Charles Leclerc at bay until the Monegasque pitted again on Lap 46.
“A very good day in general.” beamed Sainz afterwards. “Qualifying was extremely strong after leading the midfield on Friday. We secured P7 and P8 clearly ahead of our main competitors. Later, in the race, I had a good start on the inside line and fought again wheel-to-wheel with Hamilton. From there I controlled my pace and went for a long first stint.”
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“The second stint was especially strong, with very good pace and keeping Leclerc behind to secure another P5. I’m very happy with both results today, quali and the race, and the only downside is that Lando couldn’t finish in the points due to an unlucky situation. The team clearly deserved another double-points finish here in Japan. Congratulations!”
Andreas Seidl hailed Sainz’s drive as ‘sensational’ as McLaren’s lead in the Constructor’s Championship is now 34 points with four races left. Sainz himself is leading the unofficial ‘Formula 1.5’ Driver’s Championship – this is the championship excluding the top three teams Ferrari, Mercedes & Red Bull Racing. With Red Bull and Toro Rosso swapping Alex Albon and Pierre Gasly for the second half of the season, Sainz is now on course to finish P6 in the Driver’s Championship overall – this would be his highest finish ever.