Carlos Sainz Jnr scored his first podium finish in unusual circumstances after Lewis Hamilton was handed a five-second time penalty after the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“It’s a weird first podium not being there straight after the race,” the McLaren driver admitted. “But I’m extremely happy with our race today.
“To finish third coming all the way from the back of the grid was a big challenge, but we fought until the end with everything we had.”
Sainz started the race dead last after a power unit problem in qualifying prevented him from setting a lap time in Q1. He ran a different strategy to most of his rivals, running a long first stint, which paid off when the Safety Car was deployed twice at the end of the race.
“It was a very eventful race and I think I was the only car to do a one-stop strategy,” he said. “It was really difficult to hold the other midfield cars behind after the two Safety Car restarts, but I managed to defend my position well and took advantage of what happened at the front of the race.”
On his worn tyres, Sainz held off Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo for what turned out to be the final podium position.
“I had literally no grip,” he said. “I was wheelspinning in fourth and fifth gear. At the restart I was simply so slow so I put no energy in the tyre.”
“The rally skills were certainly helping to handle the car and from then onwards just defend, defend, defend as I could,” he added.
“To start last and come through the field like I did today where every move I did, every defence move, every attack, worked exactly how I wanted it was very special.”
The McLaren team went up on the podium separately after the ceremony to celebrate their first podium finish since the 2014 Australian Grand Prix.
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Image: McLaren via Twitter
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18 comments on “Sainz thrilled with “weird first podium” after Hamilton penalty”
17th November 2019, 22:40
Finally! A shame for the ceremony but a podium is a podium! And a nice reward for an excellent season coming from him, he has impressed me with instinct and consistency, really stepping up.
A nail-biting end of race and making that long medium run a success, well done. Vamos Carlos!
17th November 2019, 22:41
A massive and well deserved congratulations to both Sainz and McLaren. Sainz has driven near faultlessly all season and I’m incredibly glad to see all the hard working lot from Woking rewarded after many years in the wilderness. The only shame is that they didn’t get to enjoy the podium at the proper moment, but with McLaren consistently moving forward, I hope it’s only a matter of time before they feature there more often.
17th November 2019, 22:42
… from last to third, I know my DOTW.
17th November 2019, 22:53
Fantastic race, fantastic year leading the McLaren team to a podium! What a mistake from RB and Renault!!!
18th November 2019, 9:41
As he was beaten by Gasly, I guess that Dr Marko made the right decision ;)
18th November 2019, 14:38
Gasly didn’t come from the back of the field with a one stop strategy.
17th November 2019, 23:47
Wonder if anyone had Red Bull – Toro Rosso – McLaren as their podium picks. Well done to Sainz, drove well and has been great this season imo
18th November 2019, 0:39
Thank you Hamilton and Vettel for the induction of two new podium rookies.
Blaize Falconberger (@)
18th November 2019, 8:16
When the greats stumble ,the others have to be ready to scoop the prizes… they did well to keep their noses clean and capitalise :-)
Mark in Florida
18th November 2019, 1:13
There is life after Fernando! I’m so happy for McLaren, they are improving all the time I think. I feel that Red Bull is reaping the rewards of the Honda engine now but that’s water under the bridge. The future is looking up with two good drivers and a car that’s starting to be competitive. Congratulations to Carlos for being there at the end to collect his first podium.
Euro Brun (@eurobrun)
18th November 2019, 6:37
First McLaren driver on the podium since that time Alonso and Button snook up there in 2015, also in Brazil.
Gutted for Sainz that he was unable to enjoy it properly. I wonder when was the last time we had two podium debutants at once?
Also two honda powered teams, plus the ex- honda powered team is quiet entertaining.
18th November 2019, 9:19
@eurobrun I think Magnussen is the last McL podium
18th November 2019, 9:37
They’re referring to a moment Button and Alonso cheekily posed on the podium after another disaster in qualifying.
Euro Brun (@eurobrun)
18th November 2019, 9:54
José Lopes da Silva
18th November 2019, 9:57
First McLaren and Honda podium since 2015.
18th November 2019, 12:51
Nice way to honor Ayrton Senna, McLaren and Honda on the podium.
18th November 2019, 14:29
The last time Mclaren was on Podium, they also did not get to celebrate it fully until well after the race ended. Australia 2014 saw Magnussen 3rd and Jenson Button 4th initially, until Ricciardo was Disqualified for a fuel flow infringement after he already had participated in the podium celebrations. Ironically, that would have been the first podiums for both Ricciardo and Magnussen, the last such time two drivers each got their first podiums in the same race. So of the last 3 podiums for Mclaren, they have had only one driver actually stand on the podium immediately following the race.
Sainz also sets the record for greatest number of races completed before achieving his first podium, this being his 101st race. He supplants Martin Brundle at the top of that category, with Brundle having gone 91 races before his first podium finish.
18th November 2019, 14:39
Huge shame he couldn’t be on the podium..
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