Two and a half hours after the conclusion of the Brazilian GP of Formula 1 2019, Carlos Sainz had some very good news indeed. Race stewards communicated the Spaniard that he had been awarded the third place, which until then had belonged to Lewis Hamilton.
After a great deal of waiting and suspense, the Briton was handed a post-race, five-second sanction which pushed him all the way back to the seventh position and propped the Spaniard up to third.
A claim had been brought before the stewards at the end of the race, so officials were during that time taking statements from several of the pilots involved in other contentious incident (DRS with yellow flags) that resulted in the penalty.
The number 55 had had a great performance at the Interlagos circuit, coming back sixteen places from last (20th). Now he has made history thanks to both his great power and skill and to a little bit of good luck. He can now take home his first F1 trophy, breaking his own record of a fourth position in Singapore 2017 with Toro Rosso.
The road up to here, however, has not been easy for the Spaniard. He has completed a total of 101 Grand Prix. Notoriously ambitious and disciplined, Sainz himself has declared that “we have had to wait longer than we hoped for, but it has been worth it.”
Sainz’ feat has also served to somehow heal the wounded pride of former champion McLaren. The Spaniard has put an end to the five-year-long success draught in the Woking team. McLaren hadn’t finished among the top three since the 2014 Australian GP when Briton Jenson Button finished third in the Albert Park circuit.
This is also a great step forward for Carlos Sainz both inside – and outside – of his team. Hired to lead the McLaren rebirth project, he has fulfilled all expectations that were placed on him at the beginning of the season.
This podium could be seen as a reward for Sainz’s superb performance throughout the year. At every race, he has been able to extract all of the juice out of a car which has been growing in parallel with him.
Until Sunday, His great effort, however, never seemed to be sufficiently compensated in terms of results. Sainz has kept a consistent pace, performed spectacular starts and near-impossible overtakings. The Spaniard, tireless and true to his father’s example (the Dakar and two-time WRC champion), has continued to work hard until his efforts have started to bear fruit.
His current position in the standings says it all. With just the grand finale in Abu Dhabi to go, he occupies the sixth place overall, tied at 95 points with Pierre Gasly, seven, and with eight more points than Alex Albon, eighth.
Sainz will therefore have a chance, at Yas Marina circuit of becoming the winner of the mid-grid, only preceded by Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. He could even take Albon’s sixth place, which in theory, and based on the power of their machines, should correspond to the latter.
His best result of the present year was, until last Sunday, the fifth places of Germany, Hungary and Japan. He had also finished sixth in Monaco, France and England and eighth in Spain, Austria and the United States.
All of this was despite the fact that he didn’t accrue any points during the first three races due to problems with his car, only managing to dispute a proper race in Azerbaijan where he finished seventh.