German Grand Prix – McLarens’ Carlos Sainz says he loved the tricky conditions of Sunday’s race at Hockenheim, despite his near miss with the barriers.
Carlos Sainz came home in P5 in Sunday’s race at Hockenheim, just behind Lance Stroll’s Racing Point in P4. A shock podium may have been on the cards if a mid-race spin hadn’t cost the Spaniard quite a bit of time.
Sainz made the same error that ended the races of Nico Hulkenberg and Charles Leclerc by sliding off onto the drag strip on the outside of the penultimate corner, spinning his car on the treacherously slick tarmac. Luckily, the car came to a stop inches from the barrier and Sainz was able to reverse it sufficiently to light up the rear tyres and rejoin the race. From there, he was able to fight his way back into a strong points position and even looked like a late race contender for a podium until being overtaken by the recovering Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel four laps from the end.
“These kind of conditions are exactly what i enjoy the most out of racing.” beamed Sainz, who was the sole remaining McLaren at the flag after a technical problem eliminated Lando Norris. “We were at the right tyres at the right time pretty much the whole race. We took the was best decisions we could take and we were as quick as a Ferrari in the wet. We were as quick as the Mercedes on the slick in damp conditions. Everything went perfect except for the spin. I take the blame for that obviously.”
Asked about whether he could have done more to get past Stroll and Kvyat at the end to capture the final podium place, Sainz said his slightly aged tyres from qualifying meant he was always up against it: “I was on used Softs from qualifying. They had 2 or 3 timed laps on them.”
“I knew those guys were on new Softs and, on friday, had the same or better pace than me.”
He said that the gamble taken by Racing Point and Toro Rosso worked out for them, and that could have gone either way: “At the same time, we nearly pitted for Medium because that maybe would have given me more grip.”
“Those two guys were the guys who had nothing to lose during the Safety Car that pitted first while I was in the pack with the leaders with Verstappen and Vettel. Obviously the podium opportunity was there and now it’s easy to say we could’ve made it, but when we were P5 under the Safety Car, it was a very tough call to pit for slicks and nobody around me was stopping.
“We decided not to and the guys who were further behind had more margin to take that risk. In general we made the right decisions at the right time. Clever race and well-managed under stressful conditions, so congratulations to the team.”