Carlos Sainz had one of the strongest weekends of his time in F1 so far with an outstanding performance in both qualifying and race trim.
Starting 3rd, he jumped Bottas at the start. The Spaniard comfortably ran 2nd until the Safety Car. He dropped to 7th due to the pit lane closure to clear Magnussen’s car; Sainz critically fell behind Gasly at that point, too.
On the restart, he quickly cleared Stroll and Raikkonen. However, he just fell short of overhauling Gasly on the final lap. Nonetheless, P2 was a sensational result following a dominant weekend in the battle behind Mercedes on raw pace.
"It is incredible," he said. "I'm halfway disappointed with P2 as you would not believe that I can had a chance to fight for victory today.
"We were very, very close, but honestly with a normal race I think I would've been P2 behind Lewis because we had really, really good pace. So I think it is what we deserved."
"I am very happy with P2 as we've been super quick all weekend and I feel like I could dominate the midfield pretty easily today. So I have to be happy with that."
Sainz said McLaren should be very proud of their current package and the exceptional pace they showed at Monza.
"Getting back from P6 to P2 and then chasing Pierre and managing to finish three or four-tenths behind at the flag, we need to be proud of that and proud of the pace of the car. We could have won without the red flag.''
🇮🇹P2 IN MONZA! So close and yet so far, but still extremely happy with my 2nd podium! Great start and great pace behind Lewis. We could have won without the red flag, but I’m proud of our comeback after the restart. Team has been great. We deserve it!— Carlos Sainz (@Carlossainz55) September 6, 2020
Just like Gasly and Sainz, Lance Stroll finished on an F1 podium for the second time in his career; it’s Stroll’s first appearance on a podium since Azerbaijan in 2017 for Williams.
The Canadian looked to be favourite on the standing start when the race restarted as he was P2 on the grid with Hamilton in front to serve his penalty. He hadn’t made a stop and benefitted most from the red flag as he could change tyres before the restart.
A rare bad start and first lap for him when it resumed left the Canadian behind Gasly, Sainz and Raikkonen. He overtook the Finn to take P3 and finished there.
Stroll admitted afterwards that the race was his to lose.
“It has been a couple of years since I stood on the podium, so it feels good to be back, and it was such a crazy race.
“I am so happy for Pierre, he really deserved it as he had a really great start. He stayed consistent all the way throughout the race.
“It is a bit of a bummer. I think it was kind of mine to lose starting from second, but I just had no grip at the start.
“I had a ton of wheel spin and everyone flew by me. I had a good scrap with Carlos on the first couple of laps, and I overtook around the outside, but he got me again down into Turn 1.
“We were battling out there, so I am happy to pick up third. I think the win slipped away from us today, but third is great.”
Stroll confessed he found it strange to restart on the grid after the red flag period.
“You’ve got to restart, and you are not used to that intermission halfway through a race,” said the Canadian. “But it is great to finish third."