Carlos Sainz Jnr, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2019

Sainz fears Gasly’s tyre advantage will make him hard to beat

2019 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr is concerned he has put himself at a strategic disadvantage in his fight with Pierre Gasly by out-qualifying his rival.

The pair go into the final race of the year tied for sixth place in the driver’s championship. Gasly is ahead of Sainz as he has the best race finishing position of the pair – his second place in Brazil. Therefore, Sainz needs to out-score him today.

“I’m not going to hide it, it would make me happy if I finish sixth in the championship tomorrow,” said Sainz. “But the only way you’ll finish sixth is by scoring points and then outscoring Pierre and obviously getting the maximum points possible.”

Sainz qualified ahead of his rival but will have to start on his used soft compound tyres from Q2. Gasly, having failed to reach Q3, is allowed to choose his tyre without restriction. Sainz expects Gasly will choose to start the race on mediums, which could give the Toro Rosso driver a performance advantage.

“Hopefully the medium starters don’t have a big advantage,” said Sainz. “This is the biggest question mark.

“If they have a big advantage, it’s going to be a tricky one. But we need to out-pace them.”

Sainz knows from experience how beneficial it can be to start on fresh tyres at this race.

“Last year I started with a medium and I finished ‘best of the rest’,” he said. “So that strategy, clearly you can make it work and you can make it win the midfield battle. And so if they do a good job, they can possibly win the midfield like I did last year starting 11th. We just need to make sure we don’t let them.

“How? I honestly don’t know at the moment. But we’re going to put together the best possible stint, tyre management, strategy, to try and don’t let them beat us on a possibly quicker strategy.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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2 comments on “Sainz fears Gasly’s tyre advantage will make him hard to beat”

  1. So then why didn’t McLaren at least split strategies in qualifying?
    McLaren will be fine I think. This track is one of the worst for overtaking, so they should be able to nurse their soft tires and pit at the same time as everyone else.

  2. One of many reasons the Q2 tyre rule is counterproductive and should be scrapped. Don’t see why qualifying 11th should give any advantage over qualifying 8th, 9th, 10th etc.

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