Sainz: Being ‘stuck in P7’ not sustainable

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz has warned Formula 1 bosses that the midfield will not wait forever for them to make Formula 1 less predictable.

Kimi Raikkonen’s win for Lotus at the 2013 Australian Grand Prix remains the last time a non-Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull driver has won a race in Formula 1.

Sergio Perez’s podium at Baku in 2018 is also the only time a driver outside the top three teams has appeared on the podium in the last two seasons.

Despite finishing no higher than P6 this season, Sainz is currently best-of-the-rest P7 in the Drivers’ Championship, but after no podiums in 88 starts, he is starting to take notice of drivers like Marcus Ericsson who have quit Formula 1 and found success elsewhere.

“You see fellow drivers like Marcus [Ericsson] going to different series and immediately being on the pace and potentially winning races or being on the podium,” said Sainz Jr via Motorsport Week.

“Then you see yourself in Formula 1 and you’re stuck in P7… it’s something I haven’t got bored of as it’s only my fifth season but you think about Perez, [Nico] Hulkenberg, they’ve been here for many races and it’s something I struggle to feel is sustainable.

“It needs immediate change and it needs immediate refining in Formula 1 to change that trend.

“It’s not something that as racing drivers in the midfield we are going to be waiting here forever just finishing P7 in every race.

“I think it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed and hopefully 2021 they will make it happen.”

Sainz joined Williams racer George Russell in pointing out how MotoGP have used the regulations to create a tighter field.

“I know very well [Dorna Sports CEO] Carmelo Ezpeleta in MotoGP, I’ve spoken to him many times about what he’s done and how the manufacturers reacted to them tightening the rules with ECU, etc,” he explained.

“I think the main feedback is they were firstly sceptical obviously but now they are more happy than ever as they are fighting against more people and it makes the brand stronger, as they’re fighting against more brands, so Honda and [Marc] Marquez are even more happy.

“It’s a very good example and it’s something that I would like to see in the future in Formula 1.

“But I think Formula 1 is a different specie definitely, but I hope in the future we converse towards something a bit more driver dependent and not machine dependent.”

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Provisional Canadian Grand Prix grid

Carlos Sainz will start the Canadian GP from 11th on the grid after being hit with a three-place penalty for impeding Alexander Albon in Q1.

With all the drivers vying for a place in Q2, Albon did the right thing and moved well out of the way for Sainz, who was on a hot lap.

However, having completed his lap, Sainz slowed right down and didn’t return the favour to Albon.

As such the Spaniard, who had qualified P9, will fall to 11th place on the grid.

Kevin Magnussen is another driver to drop out of the top ten.

The Haas driver made it into Q3 on Saturday but did so by ending Q2 with a massive crash.

Magnussen’s car needed repair work overnight, including a new survival cell, meaning he will start from the pit lane.

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton make up the front row of the grid.

The revised grid
1 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:10.240
2 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 0.206s
3 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 0.680s
4 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 0.831s
5 Pierre Gasly Red Bull 0.839s
6 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 0.861s
7 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1.084s
8 Lando Norris McLaren 1.623s
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:11.800
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:11.921
11 Carlos Sainz McLaren 3.741s*
12 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1:12.136
13 Alex Albon Toro Rosso 1:12.193
14 Romain Grosjean Haas no time
15 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1:12.197
16 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1:12.230
17 Lance Stroll Racing Point 1:12.266
18 George Russell Williams 1:13.617
19 Robert Kubica Williams 1:14.393
20 Kevin Magnussen Haas no time**

* Sainz penalised three places for impeding another driver during qualifying
** Magnussen required to start from pit lane after a change of chassis following qualifying

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Verstappen boost after Sainz grid drop

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz has been given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Alex Albon during qualifying for the Canadian GP – promoting Max Verstappen up the order.

Albon came up to the back Sainz during Q1, and with the Spaniard holding the racing line, the Toro Rosso racer was forced to abort his lap.

The stewards ruled that Sainz has been informed of Albon’s approach too late by McLaren and hit him with the grid drop.

Sainz would go on to make Q3, though he was unhappy with his display in the final qualifying session.

“Obviously I’m very unhappy with my Q3 mistake,” he told reporters in Montreal.

“I knew I had an 11.5 on the table because it’s what I did in Q2. And I knew I needed to do an 11.4, 11.3 to get within the Renault reach.

“I got too greedy into turn eight, locked up the wheels, and I didn’t even set a lap in Q3 so I’m disappointed for that. I wanted that 11.3, 11.4 and in the end I have a 13.6.”

The man who benefits from this is Red Bull’s Max Verstappen – the Dutchman is now up to P9 for Sunday’s race with a free choice of tyres.

Kevin Magnussen’s Q2 crash brought out the red flags and caused Verstappen to be eliminated, but with the Danish driver now starting from the pit lane and Sainz’s penalty thrown into the mix, Red Bull’s main man has received a welcome boost.

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Sainz ready to go ‘back to reality’ after FP2

Carlos Sainz was thrilled with P4 for McLaren in FP2 at the Canadian GP, but he expects Saturday will be “back to reality”.

The Woking outfit have brought updates to the seventh round of 2019, including a new floor, and they look to have worked a treat after he ended the afternoon session 0.376s behind P1 man Charles Leclerc.

“Everything is working as it should,” Sainz told the media in Canada.

“We’ve also tried some experimental stuff on the car today. A lot of teams are changing front wings, changing everything around just to try to find the optimum balance and there’s a lot to analyse today to see what was working well and what was not.

“I’m happy with the team experimenting, trying stuff, it means we’re keen to move forward and that’s what I want to see.”

The Spaniard’s finishing position was boosted by Lewis Hamilton’s crash and Red Bull’s inability to piece together a clean run, so he expects to be behind the top three again from Saturday.

“We probably had one of the best Fridays of the season. Still I don’t believe that we are fourth fastest, I definitely believe that we are behind the top three teams,” said Sainz.

“Probably tomorrow will be a bit back to reality.”

Team-mate Lando Norris was six tenths adrift of his team-mate in P11, and he admits that was all down to him on what is his first experience of the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve.

“There’s potential in the car, the car’s quick enough to do what Carlos did,” said Norris.

“I’m just not driving well, that’s basically it, and I need to do a better job – especially when it gets to qualifying.

“I got to grips with the track reasonably quickly but I pretty much haven’t moved on since my first run in FP1. A bit frustrating because there’s a lot more speed in the car than what I’m bringing out of it.”

Asked what he felt he needed to improve for Saturday, Norris replied: “Everything”.

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Sainz warns McLaren not to get ‘overconfident’

McLaren driver Carlos Sainz has warned his team that “getting overconfident would be a huge mistake at this point.”

The Woking outfit currently hold P4 in the Constructors’ Championship and enjoy a 13-point gap over their midfield rivals.

However, even though the start of 2019 has given us McLaren at their strongest for several years, Sainz believes that they now face a battle to maintain their advantage.

“After three races in a row scoring points we’ve got some good momentum and we will try to extend that in Canada,” the Spaniard told Motorsport Week.

“Monaco was a strong weekend for me personally, but it is already in the past and we know the car has margin to improve, so now is the time to push even harder if we want to maintain our position in the Championship.

“Getting overconfident would be a huge mistake at this point.”

The MCL34 will receive further updates for the Canadian Grand Prix, but team principal Andreas Seidl insists that the key to McLaren’s form is still to pounce on opportunities that come their way.

“We head to Canada encouraged by the momentum of the last few races but also completely focused on ensuring we are still moving forward. We keep developing the car and are bringing new parts to Montreal,” he explained.

“The execution of our race operations has made the difference when points have been on offer this season, so it’s crucial that we maintain our high standards. Strategy, pit-stops and race execution from the drivers and the team are key areas in this respect.”

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Sainz warns against ‘overconfidence’

Heading to Montreal on the back of his third successive top-ten showing, Carlos Sainz has warned McLaren that getting overconfident would be a “huge mistake”.

Sainz secured a season’s best sixth place at the last outing, the Monaco Grand Prix, and in doing so saw McLaren move 13 points clear of Racing Point in the battle for best of the rest in the Constructors’ Championship.

It was a great result for the Spaniard and a sure sign that McLaren’s recovery is moving in the right direction.

However, heading to Canada for round seven of the championship, Sainz says concedes there is still a lot of work to be done.

“After three races in a row scoring points we’ve got some good momentum and we will try to extend that in Canada,” he said.

“Monaco was a strong weekend for me personally, but it is already in the past and we know the car has margin to improve, so now is the time to push even harder if we want to maintain our position in the championship.

“Getting overconfident would be a huge mistake at this point.

“Canada has offered some great racing in the past and the layout of the track is interesting.

“It shares characteristics with the street circuits, but it also has some high-speed sectors which are fun to drive with these cars.

“I look forward to getting the weekend started.”

As for his team-mate Lando Norris, the British rookie will make his Montreal debut and hopes the grand prix is an exciting as his runs on the simulator.

“I’m very excited to head to Canada and Montreal,” he said.

“It will be my first time there and the track is one I’ve always liked driving on the sim.

“It definitely looks like you can overtake and have a bit more fun there.

“The racing can be a bit unpredictable at this circuit and the weather often plays a part.

“My focus, as always, is on making sure I’m in a position to take any chances I can for both myself and the team and gaining as much experience of a new track as possible.”

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