Sainz ready to bounce back after ‘intense’ Italian GP pit stop
McLaren came away disappointed from the Italian Grand Prix as Carlos Sainz retired for the second straight race, leaving Lando Norris to pick up the team’s sole point. This time around, it was a botched and panic-strewn pit stop that ended Sainz’s race.
Seventh on the grid after that qualifying session in Italy, Sainz was in the running for some useful points in the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship, but as he pitted from sixth place on lap 27, his race was suddenly undone.
“It was an intense pit stop where we just couldn’t fit the front right tyre properly then the green light went on and I thought we were ready,” explained the Spaniard, “and we put the car back up, tied the tyre up and at that point I thought it was now ready; there was also a guy in front of the car, [so] I didn’t know if there was also a problem with the front wing or something.”
The outcome was Sainz coming to a sorry halt at the pit exit as the errant front wheel tried to depart his car. Predictably, on top of the potential lost points, McLaren were fined €5000 by the FIA for an unsafe release.
However, even after failing to finish the last two rounds, Sainz was undeterred and praised the team, adding that the “six or eight” points he was cost in Italy have been evened out by solid performances in the pits.
“It was a bit messy, but you know the pit stops and team this year on the pit wall has been great. We’ve gained a lot of points with the strategies and the good pit stop, today we’ve lost six or eight, but I’m pretty sure we’ve gained a lot more by the good execution. But [it was] a tough one today,” he concluded.
Sainz was in the stewards’ spotlight over the Monza weekend, having been reprimanded in qualifying and having had a close call with Red Bull’s Alex Albon investigated in the race. Sainz apologised for inadvertently pushing his Thai rival out onto the gravel at Turn 6 and there was no punishment for either driver.
He’ll quickly be putting this race behind him as Singapore beckons, a circuit on which Sainz took his best career performance of fourth in 2017. And with Renault having scored a bumper points haul in Italy, McLaren will want to mount a firm response next time out.