Carlos Sainz has hailed the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix as the best race of his career so far, as he finished in the top three for the first time.
The McLaren man started 20th on the grid on Sunday after bowing out of Q1 on Saturday due to a power failure. However, he put in a miraculous effort to elevate himself through the standings, eventually finishing fourth behind Lewis Hamilton.
However, after the world champion was given a time penalty following a collision with Esteban Ocon, Sainz was bumped up to third.
The result, and the performance, were his best ever, according to the driver himself.
“My best. Definitely, because it was a normal race. It was dry, people were between one and two stops and we committed to a one-stop,” he told Motorsport.com when asked how he rated the action.
“I had to make moves on the first few laps and I did them. There was a move on [Sergio] Perez especially that was really, really good and from then on the tyre management kicked in.
“I managed to extend on the soft and then the management on the medium kicked in. Then I started passing [Lance] Stroll, passing Lando [Norris] and other people, and all of a sudden I found myself in P8.
“Then, the decision came to either pit or not and we decided not to. For once we took a bit of a gamble and this time it paid off. The two SC restarts were probably the most difficult restarts of my life.”
Sainz was suffering from severe tyre degradation in the latter stages of the race at Interlagos, and he admits he doesn’t know how they managed to stay intact long enough for him to reach the finish line.
“I don't know. I don't know. I had literally no grip,” the Spaniard admitted.
“I was wheel-spinning in fourth and fifth gear at the start because we were so slow, so I couldn't put any energy on the tyres.
“I got to Turn 1, locked up, just no grip, but somehow I managed to pick up the right line. Maybe the rally skills started helping to handle the car! And from then onwards it was just defend, defend, defend as much as I could and we managed to finish.”
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