During the hard conditions of the Saturday qualifications, Sainz seemed to be thriving, ultimately putting a lap that resulted in P3 on the very wet track of Red Bull Ring. However, when Sunday came around and the track was dry, the pace of Sainz was visibly lacking compared to the drivers behind him. Very fast Sainz found himself dropping from P3 to P5, first getting overtaken by Valtteri Bottas and then by Alexander Albon.
His strategy for the race was one pit stop, which happened at lap 32. Unfortunately for him, the McLaren mechanics had a problem with his rear left tyre, and the pit stop took a long 7.2s, making Sainz drop down to 13th place.
Sainz was able to pull out a 9th place overall in the race, but it was definitely not a result he was hoping for during that weekend. Andreas Seidl, the team principal of McLaren, has apologised to Sainz for the situation from the pit stop.
Allegedly, Seidl has 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 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.”
He added: “That’s something we [will] analyse within the team. We’re in this together. It’s clear that we have to get better there.”
Ultimately, despite the situation, Sainz opted for a better result for the team and played to McLaren’s benefit. With his team-mate Lando Norris having much more better pace then Sainz, they swapped positions on lap 61. Norris was able to finish on P5, after an incredible chase after Ricciardo, Stroll and Perez, and great overtakes during the last lap of the GP.
Andreas Seidl commented: “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.”
Currently, Carlos Sainz holds the 7th place in the drivers championship, 13 points behind his team-mate, Lando Norris, who’s currently 3rd.