RACE DEBRIEF

    McLaren ended a long unbroken run of points scoring races in Russia as, for the first time since the 2019 Mexican Grand Prix, Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris came away from the weekend without a top-10 finish between them – and it’s a result that has stung the team according to boss Andreas Seidl.

    Sainz retired from the race having crashed into the Turn 2 barriers in a bizarre Lap 1 accident that he took responsibility for, even if he was unhappy with the run off layout at that corner. In the other car Norris managed to finish the race but collected debris from Sainz’s Lap 1 crash, pitted early on during the resulting Safety Car and then and had to limp his MCL35 home for P15 behind Kimi Raikkonen.

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    McLaren Team Principal Seidl said: “The team – here at the track and back home – put in a lot of hard work, so it’s a tough one to take, especially with the great atmosphere in Sochi with fans finally back in the grandstands."

    Since Seidl joined as Team Principal at the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix, the team have suffered just three point-less Grand Prix finishes; while midfield rivals Renault and Racing Point have had seven each. And the German boss added that there wasn’t “anything” Norris could do to recover after he collected debris at the start.

    2020 Russian Grand Prix: Sainz and Stroll crash out in chaotic Sochi race start

    “It’s a very disappointing Sunday afternoon for us, coming away from Russia with zero points,” he continued. “Our race was pretty much over after two corners, with Carlos running into the barriers and then Lando having to take avoiding action, finishing up at the back of the field.

    “We boxed Lando onto the hard tyres at the end of the first lap, trying to go to the end of the race, which was still a sensible choice given the long life of that compound. Lando gave it his all, but without another Safety Car to mix things up, there wasn’t really anything he could do.”

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    Norris explained his Lap 1 issues that compromised his race and led to him missing out on the top 10 for the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    He said: “I had a decent run down to Turn 2, but some guys just committed a lot more and I ended up having to back out. Anyone that committed just ran off the track and it was tricky to avoid them.

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    Norris is still fourth in the championship after failing to score points in Russia

    “Then there was the incident ahead that involved Carlos that I had to avoid. I think it damaged some bits on the car and made it a lot trickier to finish the race.

    “We need to improve for next time – it was very tricky to drive the car in the race on this track. We'll try again in Germany.”

    McLaren head to the Nurburgring next, where Lewis Hamilton took victory for them in 2011, with a slim lead in P3 in the standings – just two points ahead of Racing Point and seven ahead of Renault, both teams having scored healthily in Russia.

    2020

    Constructors' championship after the Russian GP

    POSITION POINTS
    3 McLaren McLaren McLaren 106
    4 Racing Point Racing Point Racing Point 104
    5 Renault Renault Renault 99