McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl says the sight of Carlos Sainz leading the field in the early stages of the Portuguese GP offered the Woking-based outfit a nice taste.
Sainz clocked in second behind Valtteri Bottas at the end of the opening lap of Sunday’s race, but the Spaniard then made good use of his soft tyres on the slightly damp track to pass the Finn and lead the race for four laps before the McLaren was predictably overhauled by the frontrunners.
Sainz ultimately finished sixth, while teammate Lando Norris concluded his day out of the top-ten after a clash on lap 17 with Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
“Obviously it gave some nice pictures,” said Seidl, referring to Sainz’s early charge at the front of the pack.
“Which we will put up at home for additional motivation in order to keep us going towards the goal we all have to get back to the front end in F1 in the coming years.
“So that gave a nice taste, and it was good to see, to have some leading laps. But at the same time it was also clear that we had to focus on our own race, or the race which we were in. And so we were quickly back then in the fight where we belong.
“But its was interesting to see. We know from Carlos and Lando, they like these conditions also. Of course, we had an advantage with the soft tyres compared to the guys on the medium tyres, to Mercedes and Charles.
“But compared to Verstappen who was also on soft tyres, Carlos put up a good show, and could actually put in a nice gap within some laps. But then we were quickly back to reality.”
Read also: F1i’s Driver Ratings for the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix
At the end of the day, Seidl was happy to see McLaren outscore direct rivals – Racing Point and Renault – for P3 in the Constructors’ championship.
“I think we did a good job in order to outscore both Racing Point and the Renaults, our direct competitors in the constructors’ championship, with I think also a car that was quicker in the race than these guys,” said the German.
“That’s positive. In the end we suffered with graining, especially on the soft tyres at the beginning. Which then simply didn’t allow us to fight higher up. Carlos did a great job, also with his overtaking moves, to hang in and then got the Renaults and Checo in the end, which was positive for us.”
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