Sainz: No point fighting Mercedes, Red Bull during Russian GP

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Carlos Sainz admits focused on optimising his race rather than trying to battle the top teams during the Russian Grand Prix.

A lightning start from the Spaniard saw him almost out-drag both Mercedes' on the run to Turn 2 before eventually sliding into fourth.

Soon though Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen were through with Alex Albon dropping the McLaren driver to sixth in the closing laps. 

"We got a good start which was our first target to give ourselves a chance of at least fighting the Mercedes and the Ferraris into Turn 2," Sainz revealed.

"That was a lot of fun, it's a nice way to motivate yourself.

"The whole race, [we had] good pace, good management of the tyres, the whole strategy and we finished best of the rest which was exactly what we wanted."

It was then Sainz explained the decision to be passive as the leading drivers cruised up behind him, including Albon with whom he's fighting for sixth in the Drivers' standings.

"Unfortunately, I think to fight a Mercedes or Red Bull at the moment we need to gain another half a second to make it worth it because at the moment the only thing it does is to make you lose one or two seconds of your race time," he said

"Also, with such a fast car like Sergio Perez on the straights coming from behind, I didn't want to let him get into my DRS while battling with Albon because that Racing Point is mighty quick on the straight.

"There was a bit of management to do there. Maybe if it had been the last lap of the race, no doubt I would have been a lot more aggressive, but today after a few tough races it was important to get points on the board."

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Lando Norris backed up Sainz's performance with a solid eighth, leading team boss Andreas Seidl to praise a positive day for McLaren in their bid to secure fourth place in the Constructors' standings.

"P6 and P8 was a good result for us scoring 12 points, another 11 points gained on Renault and I think it’s the first time back over 100 points for the season since 2014 probably," he commented.

"So very happy, especially after a difficult Friday that the team here, the drivers together with the team back home pulled together to analyse really in detail what we wanted to do on Saturday.

"We made the right calls, had a competitive car, and I think we clearly had the fourth fastest car again today."