Sainz surprised by Spanish GP points in problematic McLaren

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Carlos Sainz took great delight from an eighth-place finish at his home race in Barcelona on Sunday.

The man from Madrid made a late charge through the field following a Safety Car period into the top 10, but did so much to his own surprise having spent much of the race on the back-foot in his McLaren.

“It was a strange race because halfway through the race, I was struggling to hold on in P11, I had [Daniel] Ricciardo on my back and I was struggling in the final sector with the rear end and the wind,” Sainz explained to Autosport.

“Then after the Safety Car came out, we executed a good strategy – [we] profited from every opportunity we had to overtake the two Toro Rossos, a Haas and Ricciardo."

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The Australian was particularly frustrated not to have at least followed Sainz through the field if not beat the second generation driver.

But Carlos admits the circumstances made the final result all the sweeter.

“I had to bring home some points, but honestly I thought they were not on the cards," he claimed.

“Ricciardo was massively quicker than us in the final sector, I couldn’t keep him behind. At one point he made it by, we got him back, [then the] Safety Car came out.

“I think with the help of the crowd and wanting to go forward, I made it stick three times into Turn 1.

“When you have no pace and you still manage to score points I think it’s even more meritable because I did just three or four overtaking moves when I could and even held onto Kvyat on the last lap when he was on our tail."

Looking forward to the streets of Monaco in two weeks time though, and Sainz knows McLaren need to find a solution to their slow-speed weakness.

“We’re not very strong there," he admitted, referencing the technical final sector.

“I think the balance was not right in the car, so we need to find out why the pace was not there, but I congratulate everyone because we scored.”