Carlos Sainz believes the McLaren team executed everything 'perfectly' during the race in Sochi where he went on to finish in sixth place for the Woking-based outfit.
During Friday practice, McLaren was unable to extract any performance from the car. However, they made some major changes to the setup of the MCL-33 overnight so that going into qualifying they were in much better shape.
Sainz and his teammate Lando Norris qualified sixth and eighth respectively but started from fifth and seventh due to Max Verstappen's grid penalty.
Sainz managed to get a very good start, getting ahead of Valtteri Bottas and keeping the Finn behind for the first few laps.
“We got a good start which was the first target to give ourselves a chance to be on TV and we were fighting the two Mercedes and two Ferraris into T1,” said Sainz. “From there on it was just about pace management and tyre management. It was a race where strategy was key - the timing of the pit stop. We executed everything perfectly and we got a few points.
“This track is quite tough for us. Low-speed corners and medium-speed corners combined is not very good, but still, we managed to extract another best of the rest, which is just what we needed.”
When asked about McLaren's position in the constructors' championship now that they have surpassed 100 points for the first time since 2014, Sainz replied: “It’s getting better and better.
"The key was not to lose our patience, after two tough races in Monza and Singapore where we could have got a lot of points and sealed it before in the championship.
“We had that run of bad luck after the summer break of three zeros and we’re back where we could have been in Monza and Singapore without anything happening so it’s good to see.”