‘Luck hasn't been with me' says Sainz after last-gasp tyre drama robs him of points at Silverstone
Carlos Sainz dropped like a stone from fourth to 13th after his left-front tyre gave out on the penultimate lap of the British Grand Prix – but the Spaniard insisted he couldn’t blame himself nor McLaren for the incident which robbed him of a fourth points finish in a row in 2020.
Sainz started seventh behind Lance Stroll and was up to fifth, ahead of team mate Lando Norris and Stroll, after a terrific first lap. When the second Safety Car emerged on Lap 13, he pitted for a set of hard compound tyres and found himself behind Romain Grosjean, who was the only driver not to pit, and was on the faster medium compounds.
Sainz struggled to pass Grosjean initially and dubbed the Frenchman's defence “dangerous” – with the stewards agreeing suffiently to show the Haas driver the black-and-white flag – but his biggest concern was his tyres, as they had to last a whopping 39 laps after his pit stop.
And in the end, it proved two laps too many, as the left-front gave way on the second-to-last lap, as did Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton’s in a dramatic end to the race.
It dropped Sainz from fourth to P13 and he ended up without any points for the first time this season.
“In general, I think it was a race of two halves,” he said afterwards. “A lot in the attack in the first few laps, [and] having to go through a very dangerous Romain Grosjean, then just a lot of management in the middle of the race. We knew it was going to be very tight on the tyres.
“It was proved that it was tight when obviously I had the puncture. In general my luck hasn’t been with me in the first three or four races and today we lost a lot of points. Disappointed, I’m not going to lie, but at the same time today everything was done correctly a few laps to the end but I cannot be too tough on the team or myself,” he concluded.
With another race at Silverstone next week, Sainz said McLaren have made a “step up” on 2019’s MCL34 but added Renault – who had Daniel Ricciardo finish fourth and Esteban Ocon sixth – have superior race pace.
“I think we are making very good progress as a team and the car feels a step up on last year’s car so it means we’ve improved the downforce and the whole package,” explained Sainz.
“Unfortunately, in the races we are still struggling a bit compared to Renault. It looks like Renault struggle in qualifying then they come back in the races and vice versa [for us]…
“We should’ve finished in front of them so I’m just disappointed because we didn’t use our good qualifying position for it,” he concluded.