McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl has apologised to Carlos Sainz after a botched pit stop robbed the Spaniard of a top-five finish in the Styrian Grand Prix.
Sainz, who had started from third on the grid at the Red Bull Ring, was on course to replicate his fifth-place result from the season-opening race at the same circuit last weekend.
Frustratingly, a problem with his left-rear tyre during the stop saw him exit the pits in traffic, ruining his race strategy and causing increased wear to his rubber as he had to battle rather than preserve the life of his Pirellis, eventually finishing ninth.
Explaining what happened, Seidl said: “We went through a bit of a roller-coaster during the race, especially during the pit stop of Carlos’s car where we destroyed his race.
"It didn’t look that great at some points during the race, and then sending Carlos out into heavy traffic where he ruined his tyres, there was no chance for him to fight back and obviously, I am sorry.
“I want to say sorry to him and apologise that we didn’t do our job today in this aspect, because it's our job as a team to make sure both drivers always get the same opportunities, and they can battle it out on track.
“That’s something we [will] analyse within the team. We’re in this together. It’s clear that we have to get better there.”
Despite the fact Sainz has already signed for Ferrari from next season, Seidl then praised his team-player ethics for allowing team-mate Lando Norris through late on.
It was a move that ultimately resulted in the Briton catching and passing both Racing Point cars on the final lap.
Seidl added: “After it was clear that Carlos, unfortunately, had to destroy his tyres after we sent him into heavy traffic after the delay pit stop, it was clear that Lando had the better momentum with the better tyres.
“It was nice to see that both guys, with all the interest they have also for themselves, understand that, in the end, it’s about achieving the best result for the team.”
For Sainz, the two races in Austria are now a closed book, the driver choosing to focus on the coming races rather than what could have been.
"Time to turn the page and come back stronger, but we missed out on a good P5 today," commented Sainz. "We win and we lose as a team, so we’ll try to fight back in Hungary next week.”
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