For much of the race it looked unlikely, but a never-say-die attitude – combined with strong local support and a little help from the safety car – meant McLaren’s Carlos Sainz was able to finish eighth in Barcelona on Sunday, and maintain his record of always scoring points in his home Grand Prix.
After a somewhat disappointing qualifying had left him 12th on the grid, Sainz always knew he faced a tough Sunday afternoon, but some slick team strategy and some gutsy passing moves helped him net his fifth consecutive top-ten result in Spain.
“One of those strange races,” said Sainz. “Basically I had no feeling in the car and I was struggling in the last sector with the rear end.
“Ricciardo was miles quicker – we were 11th and fighting for 12th with him – but somehow we managed to overtake him back. Then the Safety Car comes out, we use the red tyre to overtake two or three people and we are eighth.
“So basically a well-executed race, well-executed strategy and overtaking just in the right place at the right moment!”
Sainz’s race almost came unstuck near the end, however. Having benefitted from the Haas drivers coming together at the re-start – following the safety-car period needed after team mate Lando Norris crashed out – he then nearly collided with a rival too.