Carlos Sainz believes he pulled off the best overtaking move of his Formula 1 career so far on his way to sixth place in the Monaco Grand Prix.
An impressive recovery after a tough final practice session allowed Sainz to reach Q3 and qualify in ninth place, but he looked set to lose a place to Alexander Albon at the first corner. A good exit from Ste Devote helped Sainz pass Albon on the run up towards Casino Square, and with that momentum he then drove clean around the outside Albon’s team-mate Daniil Kvyat at Massenet with a move that would prove crucial, as he finished directly ahead of the Toro Rosso pair in sixth.
“We got a good amount of points this weekend,” Sainz said. “It feels good. It feels particularly good as we just build it up, put in a good lap in qualifying when it counted. I got a really good start off the line and managed to pass the two Toro Rossos around the outside of Turn 3, which was probably the best move of my career in F1 until now. Then I put some good laps before and after the stop, we got the timing right, P6.
“We knew I had some pace left after the Safety Car which is why we didn’t pit. So we knew we had tire left. We put together a strong 10-12 laps after the Safety Car, opened the gap, pitted when we had to pit, it was tight, then I think I did the fastest lap after trying to defend against Kvyat. Great timing, great call, and just good pace when it counted.”
The result extended McLaren’s advantage in fourth in the constructors’ championship to 13 points over Racing Point, and Sainz was helped by team-mate Lando Norris, who was strategically used to help the Spaniard get clean air.
“They told me what I needed to focus on, lap time-wise,” Norris said. “Obviously trying to look after my tires at the same time, which cost a bit of pace, but they told me what I needed to do, and I did that, and allowed him to box cleanly ahead of me.
“If I didn’t do that I think he probably would have been passed by the Toro Rossos, because they were quite a bit quicker. So I think they did a very good job. We did our homework before the race because we thought this might happen, so we were well-prepared and thankfully that got us some good points.”