Carlos Sainz has described his first outing with McLaren as a "dream come true". The Spaniard took part in the post-season Pirelli test in Abu Dhabi with the Woking squad ahead of his full-time move in 2019.
Sainz handled driving duties on day two of running at the Yas Marina Circuit, while his teammate Lando Norris drove the MCL33 on Tuesday. Sainz set a total of 150 laps, clocking a best time of 1:38.547 which was good enough for fifth place.
Speaking about his first day as a McLaren driver, the 24-year-old said: "Going out of the garage today on my first day as a McLaren driver was pretty much a dream come true. When I finally completed my first run I felt extremely good, and I must say it’s been a very straightforward day.
“The team has made me feel at home from lap one and from day one yesterday when I started working with them. I did a lot of laps today and I’m grateful to the team for giving me such a reliable car to be able to initiate me in this new chapter and new style of car.
“From the first lap to the 150th lap, I enjoyed them all; the feeling was good and we’ve been able to end the season in the best way possible. As soon as I got out of the box I felt comfortable in the car.”
McLaren had a tough 2018 season and has brought Sainz in as Fernando Alonso's replacement. Sainz acknowledges that there are still things to improve on ahead of the 2019 campaign, but is nonetheless ready for his latest challenge.
"Of course, there are always going to be details to improve and new things to adapt to, like the seat and the driving style, but from the first lap I could spend time adapting and getting to know all the new controls and procedures,” he said. “It’s been great.”
“It’s been an intense few days after the race finished here in Abu Dhabi, learning a lot of names and understanding how the car works. I’m looking forward to spending more time back at the factory over the winter getting to know the team better and preparing as much as we can for 2019.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing