McLaren end season on a high with double points finish in Abu Dhabi

by Ellie Jane

McLaren F1 Team, had another positive race as both of their drivers managed to get points at the final race of the year, the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Carlos Sainz Jr. took tenth place, to secure sixth in the Drivers’ championship and his teammate Lando Norris finished in eighth place.

The 2019 FIA Formula 1 Championship saw the team take a positive step toward being competitive again and included an announcement that they would switch to Mercedes-AMG Petronas engines in 2021.

The team managed to take fourth in the Constructors’ Championship as they were crowned the best of the rest, as the new pair Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris took sixth and eleventh in the driver’s championship.

Sainz expressed his happiness about his sixth-place finish in the championship, beating Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver Alex Albon. He said that it was not an easy race due to traffic and ongoing battles in the midfield. He added that a two-stop was completed so that he could secure points in Yas Marina.

Very happy!” exclaimed Sainz. “The target this weekend was to finish sixth in the Drivers’ Championship and we made it happen! It wasn’t an easy race, with a lot of traffic in all the stints and having to start with the Soft [compound].

We went for the two stops knowing it was going to put me in a delicate position to make it to the top 10, but also knowing it was my only chance.

Sainz was happy to be able to catch and overtake, Renault Sport F1 Team driver, Nico Hülkenberg for points. He conveyed his excitement with his season and was thankful toward his team for having, a car and a team whom he could achieve the results with.

I managed to catch Hulkenberg right at the end and pulled off an overtake, on the last lap, that I will not forget! I’m very happy with my season and extremely grateful to every single member of the team. Thank you!

Norris finished in eighth place for the final race and explained that he struggled slightly, as he made a mistake at the end of his first stint, but added that he was able to manage his tyres in the following stint.

Pretty much a good race having made a decent start. I struggled a bit and made a mistake at the end of my Soft stint, then had a big lock-up, so had to box earlier than we wanted to. But in general, I felt like I did a good job with my tyre management.

He made it clear it was a good race, as he explained the battles, which led to overtakes. He explained, that unfortunately, he made a mistake at the end which meant, SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team driver, Sergio Pèrez could overtake him and he was annoyed about it.

Good battling, good overtakes when I needed to do them. The only other mistake I made in the whole race was being overtaken at the end by Perez. In fairness, he did me fair and square but I’m gutted because that was a crucial overtake.”

The Briton talked of his rookie season in F1, explaining that he was really happy with the results that he managed to produce. He added that the team had made good improvements, and said it meant his team did an excellent job. He then thanked McLaren for making his first season good.

It’s been a long season and overall I’m happy. We made some really good improvements and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. As a team, we’ve done an excellent job and I’m already really looking forward to next season. Thanks to the entire team for making my rookie F1 season so cool!”

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