Carlos Sainz Jr. showed tremendous pace and consistency throughout the ‘hardest’ race of this Formula 1 career to date, with the Spaniard finishing fifth in the Turkish Grand Prix having started fifteenth.
The McLaren F1 Team racer had to bounce back after a poor Saturday at Intercity Istanbul Park that left him outside the top ten in Qualifying, with a grid penalty for blocking Sergio Pérez then relegating him further down the grid. He would ultimately start fifteenth.
Come race day, it was expected to be an afternoon of damage limitation for Sainz, but he drove superbly, passing a number of cars to claim fifth. He finished just behind the battle for second place between Pérez, Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc and had been closing on the trio in the final few laps.
“Very, very good day for us after a disappointing Saturday,” reflected Sainz. “We managed to put together a very strong race under super tricky conditions.
“I had a very good start, picking up six places, switching on the tyres and keeping a solid pace with both compounds. From there, I managed to pull off some good overtakes to finish P5. I definitely rate this race as one of the hardest I’ve done in F1 so far and I’m very happy to have recovered 10 positions in these conditions.
“I’m also happy for the entire team because it looks like we saved a tough weekend with both cars again in the points.”
“I think we did the best job we could during the race” – Lando Norris
Team-mate Lando Norris finished eighth and secured a bonus point for fastest lap, with the Briton feeling he had a quick car all day long.
Norris bemoaned his race start as he slipped towards the back on the wetter side of the track, but once he was able to consolidate his position, he was able to show good pace and make moves forward. He overtook one-time race leader Lance Stroll into the final sequence of turns late in the day to clinch eighth having been over a minute behind the Canadian in the early stages.
“That was a good race – a lot of fun,” said Norris. “My start wasn’t great, but I think a lot of people on the left-hand side of the grid had bad starts.
“Everything after that was good, it was just very difficult to overtake. Normally it’s like that in the dry, but in the wet there was only one line you could use and it was almost impossible to pass. But, when we were in clean air, we had really good pace all the time.
“I think we did the best job we could during the race – and I had the fastest lap, so that showed the car was genuinely quick.”
Seidl Delighted with McLaren’s Points Haul in Turkey
Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal at McLaren, was proud of the result of Sunday’s race, with the German feeling it was a great recovery to finish fifth and eighth having been nowhere on either Friday or Saturday.
Neither driver qualified inside the top ten on Saturday and both took grid penalties, Norris for yellow flag offences and Sainz for blocking Pérez, but they fought back on race day to score important points towards the Constructors’ Championship in their titanic battle for third against the BWT Racing Point Formula One Team and the Renault DP World F1 Team.
“What a recovery!” said Seidl. “Friday and Saturday were both very difficult days and delivered the worst starting positions we’ve had this season so far.
“Last night it was important to focus on the task ahead and maintain the belief that there would be opportunities to make a comeback today. Big thank you to both drivers and the team for an excellent job in executing a clean race in incredibly difficult conditions.
“We had a competitive car today, and good work from the team on the pit-wall, in the pit-box and back at Mission Control allowed the drivers to show their qualities and deliver a very strong result.
“With three races to go, P5, P8 and Lando’s fastest lap of the race means we scored important points for the Constructors’ Championship.”