Carlos Sainz Jr has said that his maiden Formula 1 podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix was “weird” and that next time he wants to be there on merit.
The McLaren driver had an eventful afternoon on Sunday, starting last after an engine issue in qualifying prevented him from setting a lap-time, and was the only driver to execute a one-stop strategy in the race, which helped him move up the order.
At the end of the second safety car period, Sainz held off the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Raikkonen brilliantly, to keep fourth place as he crossed the finish line, but after the race, it was announced that Lewis Hamilton received a five second penalty for colliding with Alex Albon, and Sainz was promoted to third as a result.
Although the Spaniard was disappointed not to be on the podium at the end of the race, he was glad that both he and McLaren managed to take full advantage of the incidents in the race.
“Yes! What a day! It’s a weird first podium not being there straight after the race, but I’m extremely happy with our race today.” commented Sainz after the race.
“To finish P3 coming all the way from the back of the grid was a big challenge, but we fought until the end with everything we had!
“It was really difficult to hold the other midfield cars behind after the two Safety Car re-starts, but I managed to defend my position well and took advantage of what happened at the front of the race.”
The result was McLaren’s first podium since the Australian Grand Prix in 2014, but although Sainz was happy to finally put an end to that drought he accepts that he was fortunate rather than achieving it on raw pace, and hopes this can be used as motivation to improve further next year.
“A good first stint, a great pit-stop from the guys and a very challenging and long stint to bring it home and finish P3 for the first time in my career.” he added.
“My first podium is obviously very special but we need to keep pushing to step up there on pure pace!
“That’s what we’re really here for, that has to be our goal!”