McLaren's form since Azerbaijan incredible - Carlos Sainz Jr.
Carlos Sainz Jr. says his and McLaren’s results since Azerbaijan have been “incredible”, with he and the team consolidating its position as best-of-the-rest in 2019.
Ex-Toro Rosso and Renault racer Sainz Jr. linked up with McLaren in the wake of a difficult campaign for the team, as it finished a low-key sixth, which in effect was seventh due to Force India’s mid-season exclusion.
Sainz Jr. failed to score across the opening three grands prix amid a spate of reliability issues and incidents, but since then has only missed out on a top 10 finish in Canada.
Sainz Jr. capped the opening half of the year with back-to-back fifth place finishes in Germany and Hungary, leaving him seventh overall on 58 points, 27 clear of nearest rival Kimi Raikkonen.
McLaren has already exceeded its 2018 points tally, having amassed 82, and is 39 clear of next-best team Toro Rosso.
“Since Baku I don’t know how many points I’ve got, but it’s been incredible,” said Sainz Jr.
“The first few races we were very unlucky, things didn’t come together, but since Baku the hard work over the winter, the hard work in the factory in Woking is paying off a lot.
“We just keep performing every weekend with great strategy, great pit stops, good on Sundays and that’s how we should be and [what] we need to keep doing.”
McLaren had been braced for a struggle at the Hungaroring but Sainz Jr.’s fifth was backed up by ninth for Lando Norris, who would have been a likely seventh but for a slow pit stop.
“Maybe Hungaroring has become a medium-speed track with these F1 cars because it feels really fast out there,” said Sainz Jr. “That suited us a bit better than anticipated.
“On the first stint [we] extended a lot the Soft tyre, I was told on the radio the last 5-10 laps of that stint we were quicker than the Ferraris so everyone was really getting pumped up, and starting to see some progress on the car, and tyre management, and from there on we kept pushing.
“[Pierre] Gasly came a bit fast from behind but we managed to hold him off.”