Carlos Sainz admits he wanted to claim sixth place in the drivers' championship "more than anything" in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
The Spaniard managed to pull-off a late-race overtake on Nico Hulkenberg, which was enough to secure him a place inside the top six.
Pierre Gasly, one of his challengers for the position, failed to score points after coming together with Lance Stroll on the opening lap - a collision that left the Toro Rosso driver deeply frustrated.
"I wanted that P6 [in the championship] more than anything," Sainz stated after the race. I had to do it at Turn 11 on the last lap. Constant information. I knew the last points was Nico."
Sainz added that he made the call to take a risk and switch onto the two-stop strategy, pitting for the medium compound with 14 laps to go.
"I told them that we need to risk it and we went to the medium and then I was closing and closing on Nico and finally made it through at Turn 11.
"The other guys were flying past me. I said if I pit now and I have a 21s gap. We can close on the medium tyres."
Sainz affirmed that 2019 has been the "strongest season" in his career, and will return to action next year once more with McLaren, which will be his sixth season in F1.
"I remember finishing here last year and then going to McLaren and not knowing what I can achieve at the team. I have had the strongest season of my career and it has been the strongest season for McLaren in a while.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing
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