McLaren’s Carlos Sainz admitted his sixth place result at the Portuguese Grand Prix “doesn’t taste very good” after slipping back from a shock spell in the lead.
Starting the grand prix on the Soft tyres, Sainz progressed from seventh on the grid to second by the end of the opening lap, before overtaking Valtteri Bottas for the lead on lap two.
Sainz remained out in front until lap six, and began to slip backwards as his Soft tyres took on graining and his rivals, who were on Mediums, moved forward.
After making up places following his pit stop on lap 26, he completed a last lap overtake on Sergio Perez for sixth.
“I really enjoyed those first few laps, to lead the race,” Sainz said. “Unfortunately we opened up the graining. But until there I had a lot of fun.
“The track temperature came down because of the cloud coverage. The lower the track temperature, the easier it is to open up the graining.
“It’s been like that the last few races for us, we struggled quite a lot with the graining.
“In the end we salvaged P6 which doesn’t taste that good when you’re leading the race. But I don’t think we could have done much more than that.”
Sainz says the pace was close between McLaren, Racing Point and Renault during the race, but conceded defeat to Pierre Gasly, who finished fifth for AlphaTauri.
“We’ve seen in the past the AlphaTauri has really good tyre management,” Sainz said.
“We kind of accepted defeat with AlphaTauri because they sometimes get these super strong stints with no graining.
“Then with the pace of the Racing Point and the Renault, we were there or thereabouts today which is progress from the last few races because they were quicker the last couple of races.
“So a bit of progress there but still a lot of work to do because the championship keeps getting tighter and tighter.”
McLaren currently sits fourth in the Championship standings, trailing Racing Point by two points and heading Renault by four.