McLaren boss Andreas Seidl praised Carlos Sainz’s display at Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix, quipping he showed why Ferrari has signed him.
Sainz qualified third, behind only the Mercedes drivers, and ran second in the early stages of the grand prix, pulling clear of the chasing pack.
Sainz lost out behind the Safety Car and red flag, taking the restart from sixth, but quickly made gains to re-capture second position.
The McLaren driver reeled in leader Pierre Gasly but crossed the line just four-tenths down on the AlphaTauri racer.
It marked Sainz’s best finish, equalling McLaren’s highest classification in the hybrid era, and his first proper appearance on the Formula 1 podium.
“From the first lap onwards Carlos was impressive,” said Seidl.
“It’s also not a surprise for us because we know what he can do, and it’s also clear there’s a reason why the red team went for him, as they believe in him as well!
“It was a strong weekend for Carlos from the first outing onwards, he had a lot of strong weekends already this year.
“In the end he’s the hero behind the steering wheel that had to pull it off and he did it. He did great starts, great restarts, great overtaking [manoeuvres], and in the end he deserved this great finish.”
Seidl nonetheless conceded slight discontent at McLaren having been so close to victory but was buoyed by the team strengthening its resolve on third in the Constructors’ Championship.
It now holds a 16-point buffer over Racing Point, with Renault and Ferrari further behind.
“We are a bit disappointed it didn’t work out with the win in the end, with the timing of the Safety Car and red flags,” said Seidl.
“But at the same time we benefited from the issues that Mercedes had. It gives us a lot of good points and is another great confirmation that we have a competitive car.”