McLaren snatches Constructors' podium after 'stressful' evening in Abu Dhabi


McLaren overhauled Racing Point in the lucrative race for third in F1's Constructors' championship thanks to a pair of top-ten finishes by its drivers and Sergio Perez's early demise from the Abu Dhabi GP.

McLaren head into Sunday's finale trailing its rival by 10 points, but solid performances from both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz, who finished respectively P5 and P6 at Yas Marina, allowed the papaya squad to outscore its rival by 17 points at the end of the day.

But Racing Point's chances of retaining third in the championship took a massive hit early on when Perez retired with an engine failure after just eight laps. The team's second contender, lance Stroll, could only manage P10 in Sunday's race.

However, McLaren's points tally in Abu Dhabi was put in jeopardy by a post-race investigation involving a slow pit entry into the pits of Sainz during a virtual safety car period.


The Spaniard headed into the pitlane, ahead of Stroll, but then dropped his speed and appeared to hold up the Racing Point driver.

Both drivers were summoned to the Stewards but ultimately no further action was taken as there was no evidence suggesting Sainz's maneuver had actually impaired Stroll in any significant way.

On a day on which McLaren announced a £185 ($244m) investment into the Woking-based outfit by US sports group by MSP Sports Capital, the team's additional bonus for finishing third rather than fourth in the championship - estimated at about £4m ($5m) - equated to a profitable weekend for McLaren.

But McLaren boss Zak Brown insisted that it had been anything but a laid back evening on the pitwall.


"That was a good day today - it has been a great year, actually," a jubilant Brown told Sky F1.

"It's been a really difficult season in the public spotlight unfortunately, some of our challenges, and to bring the investment in this weekend, the job Lando and Carlos have done all year, the job all the men and women at McLaren have done, this third place is a true team effort.

"It was awesome. It was a bit stressful on pit wall. It might have looked like a boring race for Lando and Carlos, but it was exciting on pit wall."

Norris confirmed that a bit of agitation took hold in the team ahead of Sunday's race given Racing Point's edge not only in terms of points but also performance.

"It wasn't looking too hopeful into today knowing the pace of the Racing Point and Sergio in particular," said Norris.

"So we were very nervous, let's say hopeful but not super confident that we could pull it off. But the car's been exceptional all weekend.

"I'm super happy for the team of course. That one step of progress from last year, from fourth to third, was a nice, especially to get it in the last weekend."

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