Austin to mark the 100th F1 start for Sainz

by Tom Cairns
Carlos Sainz Jr. - McLaren F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix - Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - Race

McLaren F1 Team aim to bounce back with a points finish at the Circuit of the Americas for this weekend’s United States Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz Jr. crossed the line last time out in Mexico in a disappointing thirteenth after running out of tyres in the closing stages, as the Spaniard had spent the last thirty-five laps on a set of medium compound tyres and dropping behind McLaren’s key rivals.

Austin though will be Sainz’ 100th Grand Prix start this weekend. He began his Formula 1 career in 2015 for Toro Rosso Honda, achieving his best finish of fourth in the Singapore Grand Prix two years later. The final four races of the 2017 campaign saw the twenty-five year old replace Jolyon Palmer at Renault F1 Team and carrying on with the French squad through the whole of 2018 before switching to McLaren.

Sainz hopes to use his experience of Austin to good effect and come home in a strong position to all but seal fourth in Constructors’ Championship for the Woking-based team.

“The US Grand Prix is a very special event for me, marking my 100th Formula 1 start,” Sainz said.

“To be an F1 driver has been my dream and my ambition for as long as I can remember, so to be hitting my 100th race at only 25 years old is a really significant moment.

“After a tough Sunday in Mexico, the whole team is willing to hit the track again at Austin this week. It is important that we keep focused and working hard until the last race. COTA is one of the most exciting tracks on the calendar and always delivers interesting racing, with the entire first sector being very fun to drive in these F1 cars.

“Getting Turn One right can really pay off later in that sector, so I look forward to jumping back in the car on Friday and getting set up for quali and the race.”

Lando Norris - McLaren F1 Team in the 2019 Formula 1 Mexican Grand Prix - Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez - Race
Credit: McLaren Racing

Lando Norris also had a weekend to forget at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, failing to finish after a loose wheel at his first stop saw his Grand Prix compromised and out of sync with the rest of the field.

The rookie remains in the fight for ninth in the Drivers’ Championship however, as he is eight points off that target with three races to go.

Norris’ focus though will be on McLaren’s target in the Constructors’ Championship, as their gap to closest rivals Renault stands at thirty-eight points.

“I’m looking forward to putting Mexico behind me and focusing on the next race,” Norris added.

“COTA is one of my favourite circuits and I’ve been working hard to prepare for the weekend. Having taken part in FP1 last year, it’s not a completely new track to me, so I know I’ll be able to hit the ground running on Friday.

“We know that the battle for fourth place isn’t quite wrapped up yet, so we’ll be pushing hard to maximise our championship position in Austin.”

Team Principal Andreas Seidl bids for his team to make up for the mistakes in Mexico City and “come back stronger” in Austin.

“After a Sunday to forget in Mexico, we head north to the US in anticipation of an exciting race,” Seidl quoted.

“We’re looking to learn from last weekend and come back stronger for the final three races. We know that the Constructors’ is not done until its done, so we need to keep it in our hands as we see the season out.

“A back-to-back always poses operational challenges, especially at the fly-aways, but we’re prepared and focussed on performing at 100 per cent in Austin.”

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