Carlos Sainz Jr. says that the McLaren F1 Team asserted itself as the fourth fastest Formula 1 team over the course of the French Grand Prix.
Having locked out the third row of the grid through Lando Norris and Sainz Jr. in qualifying, the Spaniard held his starting position to claim a second top six finish of the 2019 season so far, but a late hydraulics issue dropped Norris from the tail of Sainz Jr. to ninth place in the official classification.
Sainz Jr. passed team-mate Norris at the start, but was powerless to keep the recovering Scuderia Ferrari car of Sebastian Vettel behind in the early stages.
He held sixth place for the remainder of the grand prix, bar his pitstop for hard compound tyres on lap 20 of 53 at Circuit Paul Ricard – when he briefly dropped to tenth.
“Very happy after a strong and well-executed race,” said Sainz Jr.
“I made another good start and once I was in sixth I controlled the race, controlled the pace, and drove to the target lap times the team was giving me to manage the tyres.
“It was a simple race from that point of view and one of those days where everything comes together and produces the maximum result available, so well done to everyone.”
Sainz Jr, who joined at the end of his loan spell from the Red Bull programme to the Renault F1 Team at the end of 2018, believes that McLaren was the superior team in the midfield, with its performance growing throughout the weekend.
A total of 10 points from France bolstered McLaren’s hold of fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship, the team now has an eight point lead over Renault – who endured a testing home race.
“We were definitely the fourth fastest car this weekend – in qualifying and the race – so happy with that,” Sainz Jr. added.
“Congratulations to the team for the hard work all weekend and for another double points finish. We just need to keep pushing hard to improve at every race.”