Carlos Sainz Jr. maintains home points streak with 'strange' race recovery

Carlos Sainz Jr. described his Spanish Grand Prix as “strange” in the wake of maintaining his record of scoring points at his home Formula 1 event.

Sainz Jr. placed ninth for Toro Rosso at Barcelona in 2015 and followed it up with sixth a year later, with two successive seventh-place finishes following in 2017 and 2018, the latter for Renault.

Sainz Jr. was eliminated from Q2 this year in the wake of a scruffy second push lap in the session and was only on the fringes of the top 10 for much of the race.

But the late race Safety Car brought Sainz Jr. back into contention and he worked his way past rivals to move into eighth position.

The result enabled McLaren to preserve fourth position in the Constructors’ Championship.

“A strange race, because basically halfway through the race I was struggling to hold on to P11,” said Sainz Jr.

“I had [Daniel] Ricciardo on my back and was struggling a lot in the last sector in the whole race with the rear end, with the wind, no feeling with the car at all, just complaining the whole race with the rear.

“Suddenly the Safety Car came out and we executed a good strategy and profited from every opportunity to overtake two Toro Rossos and Ricciardo, so [it turned out to be] a good race.”

Sainz Jr. admitted that the early struggles left him doubting that he could continue his Barcelona streak.

“At home I always tend to bring some points,” he said.

“But honestly I thought they were not on the cards. I was P11 and struggling to hold P11, Ricciardo behind massively quicker than us in the last sector, at some point he went by, we made it back so we were basically fighting for 11th and 12th.

“And with a bit of help from the crowd I made it stick three times into Turn 1 and made it happen.”