Sainz ‘cautious’ on battle for P6, as Gasly relishes fight in Abu Dhabi
It's down to the wire in the fight for sixth in the drivers' standings, with Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly currently tied on points with one round to go – and the two revealed just how much taking P6 in the championship would mean to them in Abu Dhabi.
Toro Rosso's Gasly and McLaren's Sainz sit level on 95 points going into the season finale after Gasly finished second in Brazil and Sainz took P3 post-race. And Sainz, who waited 101 races for a podium finish, revealed that he was feeling “cautious” going into the the Abu Dhabi decider.
“I think we’re as confident as we can be but at the same time you’re obviously cautious, you can never know what’s going to happen in the last race. I already consider it a bit of a success, to be fighting for P6,” said Sainz.
I think it makes it really exciting, coming into the last race of the season with something to play for in the championship
“It’s a bit of a bonus because you never expect to be fighting for P6 in the midfield – you expect to be fighting for P7. And now that we have the chance and we’ve created ourselves an opportunity, we want to take it.
“I’m not sure it’s going to be easy, Pierre and Toro Rosso… have been really strong, they’ve executed some really nice races and I’m sure we’re going to have some fun and some tough competition.”
As for Gasly, who clinched his second-place finish in Brazil after a nailbiting drag race to the line against Mercedes’ six-time champion Lewis Hamilton, he was targeting a “perfect weekend” to help make the difference against Sainz – a driver who beat Gasly to the Formula Renault 3.5 Series title back in 2014.
“It's not the first time we’re battling!” said Gasly, who scored 63 of his 95 points while driving for Red Bull in the first half of 2019.
“I think it makes it really exciting, coming into the last race of the season with something to play for in the championship. Carlos and McLaren have been fast all year long, consistent, so we expect it to be tough and it will be our job to execute the perfect weekend to hold on to that sixth place until the end.”
Both drivers will need to have an eye on Red Bull's Alex Albon in Abu Dhabi, however, as he'll be keen to bounce back from a Brazilian Grand Prix which saw him spun out of a first podium by Hamilton. The Thai driver, who replaced Gasly at Red Bull from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards, sits just 11 points behind the pair, and will have the advantage of what should be a faster car around the Yas Marina Circuit.