Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz enjoyed a second strong year with McLaren, recording a further podium result and finishing sixth in the standings. Here are the facts and statistics from Sainz’s 2020 F1 season!
More often than not, Carlos Sainz got the best out of McLaren’s MCL35 in 2020. Sainz qualified in the top three twice in 2020, at the Styrian and Italian Grands Prix. It was at the latter that the Spaniard would record the best race result of his career to date with second place, narrowly missing out on the win. Sainz finished in the top five on six occasions throughout the year and ended the season with seven consecutive top seven finishes.
Technically, Lando Norris won the qualifying battle at McLaren for a second year running, though if you take out the Bahrain Grand Prix – where Sainz was unable to set a representative time in Q2 – the pair ended the year level on eight out-qualifications apiece. Only seventeen thousandths separated them on average per qualifying sector. The pair were close on points too, with Sainz scoring a fraction more but also suffering more bad luck than his team-mate. Pit stop problems at the Styrian Grand Prix curtailed his afternoon, a late race puncture robbed him of a fourth place (or even better) result at the British Grand Prix and he failed to even start the Belgian Grand Prix
Sainz moves on from McLaren in 2021, having announced his intention to join Ferrari before the delayed 2020 season began. Questions remain whether that was the right choice, given McLaren’s upward trajectory and Ferrari’s recent downturn in pace.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Austria: Carlos Sainz recorded his best Austrian Grand Prix qualifying performance with eighth place. It beat his previous best result at the track of ninth, recorded in 2018. Sainz also recorded his best Austrian Grand Prix result with fifth, marking the seventh time that the Spaniard has finished in the top five during his career.
Styria: Carlos Sainz recorded his best ever qualifying result at the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix with third on the grid. It beat his previous best qualifying result of fifth, which he recorded twice, at the 2015 Spanish Grand Prix with Toro Rosso and at the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix with Renault. In the race, Sainz became the 134th different driver to have set the Fastest Lap of a World Championship F1 race, breaking the Red Bull Ring’s Lap Record by 1.338 seconds in the process.
Hungary: Carlos Sainz made the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix his fifth consecutive visit to the Hungaroring in which he has reached Q3 on Saturday and scored points on Sunday. This was the sixth consecutive race in which he scored – an active streak which was bettered only by Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez.
Britain: Finishing thirteenth after a late-race puncture, Carlos Sainz ended a six race streak of finishing in the points. The last time he failed to finish in the top ten was at the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix, where he also finished thirteenth.
70th Anniversary: Carlos Sainz qualified in thirteenth place for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, making this the first time that a McLaren driver failed to reach Q3 since the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix.
Spain: Carlos Sainz maintained his 100% points-scoring record at the Spanish Grand Prix. He also equalled his best result at his home Grand Prix, having previously finished sixth for Toro Rosso in 2016. Sainz’s sixth place was the McLaren team’s best result at the track since both cars finished on the podium in 2011.
Belgium: Carlos Sainz failed to start the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix, recording the first DNS of his career and McLaren’s first DNS since Fernando Alonso at the 2017 Russian Grand Prix. This is the second consecutive year in which Sainz has failed to complete a lap of the Belgian Grand Prix. Sainz was McLaren’s first DNS at Spa since Niki Lauda in 1985 and his non-start made the 2020 Belgian Grand Prix the first race which no Spanish drivers started since the 2005 United States Grand Prix.
Italy: Carlos Sainz equalled his career-best qualifying result at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix with third place. It marked the first time that a McLaren driver has qualified in the top three at the Italian Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button locked out the front row in 2012. The Spaniard went one better on Sunday and finished in a career-best second place. He became the first McLaren driver to finish on the podium at the Italian Grand Prix since Lewis Hamilton won in 2012 and becomes only the second Spanish driver, after Fernando Alonso, to have taken multiple podium finishes in Formula 1. Sainz also led a lap of a Grand Prix for the first time in his career. He’s the 174th driver to have led a lap in the sport and the first McLaren driver to do so since Jenson Button led a single lap of the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Tuscany: Getting caught up in the Safety Car restart carnage, Carlos Sainz recorded his, and McLaren’s, second non-finish of the year at the Tuscan Grand Prix.
Russia: Carlos Sainz was the first retirement from the 2020 Russian Grand Prix. It was the second race in a row in which Sainz has retired, marking the first time he had recorded consecutive retirements since the 2019 Belgian and Italian Grands Prix.
Eifel: Carlos Sainz finished in fifth place in the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix, recording his second top five finish in the last five races. The Italian and Eifel Grands Prix are the only two of those five races in which Sainz completed more than five laps of the race.
Portugal: Carlos Sainz led four of the opening five laps of the Portuguese Grand Prix. It was the first time that the Spaniard has led multiple laps of a race, having previously led a single lap at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix.
Emilia Romagna: Finishing the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix in seventh place, Carlos Sainz matched his longest streak of top seven finishes. This was the third race in a row where Sainz finished in the top seven. He also recorded three successive top seven results between the 2019 British and Hungarian Grands Prix.
Turkey: Carlos Sainz qualified in thirteenth for the Turkish Grand Prix, equalling his worst Saturday result of the season to date. On Sunday, Sainz finished fifth. It’s the fourth consecutive race where the Spaniard has finished in the top seven, as well as the tenth top five finish of his career.
Bahrain: A rear brake failure meant that Carlos Sainz was unable to set a lap time in Q2 at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Fifteenth was Sainz’s worst qualifying result of the season, and marked the first time that he failed to reach Q3 at two consecutive races since the 2019 Austrian and British Grands Prix. Sainz finished the race in fifth, recording successive top five finishes for the first time since the 2019 German and Hungarian Grands Prix. In both of the last two races, the Spaniard started fifteenth and finished fifth. This was the first time that Sainz scored at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Sakhir: Qualifying in eighth place, Carlos Sainz reached Q3 for the first time since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. In the race, Sainz finished fourth, recording a third consecutive top five finish. This was the fourth time that Sainz has finished in the top four during his career.
Abu Dhabi: For the first time in his career, Carlos Sainz finished in the top six for a fourth consecutive race. The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was also the first time since the Hungarian Grand Prix that Sainz finished in the same position as he started.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.