Carlos Sainz has indicated that reliability is still a significant issue for McLaren, following a disappointing Bahrain Grand Prix which saw the Spaniard make contact with Max Verstappen near the start of the race.
Having started in seventh on the grid, Sainz moved his way past the Haas of Kevin Magnussen and set about challenging Verstappen for sixth. Making his way round the outside of the Dutchman at turn four, Sainz squeezed Verstappen onto the kerb, resulting in Verstappen bouncing back into the side of Sainz, damaging his car and seeing him fall to the back of the grid.
From there he had a disappointing run to the end, eventually retiring the car due to gearbox issues and speaking after the race Sainz tried to remain positive, but added that the Max clash had delayed the inevitable.
He said: "[I had] a good start, a good first lap, the cars in front weren't opening the gap and I could stay with the top six without problems.
"But then, I don't think we would have finished in the points because my gearbox failed all throughout the race.
"We had a gearbox problem that was making us lose almost a second per lap, so even if I had overtaken Verstappen I would have been fifth and then suddenly I would have had the gearbox problem and it would have been even more dramatic."
Sainz said he would "prefer not to think about" whether he would have had the pace to secure a podium position were it not for the damage and whilst the collision with Verstappen went through the stewards with no further action, Sainz believes he took damage because of how hard the collision with Verstappen was.
He added: "It's racing, it's incidents. All I can say is that I started well, I did all I had to do and tried everything I had to try and I ended up worse off.
"It was my turn to get [a] puncture thanks to how hard he hit me. The normal thing would have been that we both got a puncture and to be both out of the race.
"He was lucky to continue, but he hit me really hard and that was it."
Verstappen, meanwhile, believes that Sainz might not have seen him, adding that the narrow field of vision from the cockpit is a problem in that situation.
He claimed: "He tried to go around the outside and braked late, I guess he didn't see me. In these cars you are blind to what is happening next to you.
"I braked late and saw him turn into the corner, so I had to take avoiding action.
"We clipped wheels and it was unfortunate."
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