Sainz: Last-lap Hulkenberg Abu Dhabi pass like F1 title on line

Jonathan Noble
Sainz: Last-lap pass felt like a title on the line
Sainz: Last-lap pass felt like a title on the line

Carlos Sainz Jr says his last lap move on Nico Hulkenberg to snatch a crucial point in Formula 1's 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix felt like a world championship-winning moment.

Sainz had to finish in the top 10 to secure his sixth place in the drivers' championship, but was running 11th on the final lap.

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He was not quite close enough to Hulkenberg under braking at the end of the main straight to make a pass, but managed to get into the tow on the run down to Turn 11 and he dummied to the right before making a brave dive on the inside.

Despite locking up, Sainz was able to hold on to the place and keep the 10th spot to secure sixth in the standings.

When asked by Autosport about the manoeuvre, which was not broadcast on TV, Sainz: "It was the most exciting final lap I think I've been caught in - it was like for a world championship for me!

"I just got close enough to Nico in order to throw a move to Turn 9, and I decided to back out of it and try in 11.

"But I didn't get the run out of Turn 10 that I wanted, so it meant I arrived to 11 a bit far behind.

"I saw a gap on the inside but it was really small. But like with my move on [Sergio] Perez, I said 'OK if it worked for him I need to try to make it work with Nico'. So I threw the move and made it stick.

"It's crazy at the end of the championship that we are fighting on the last lap with the last overtaking opportunity of the track."

Sainz: Last-lap pass felt like a title on the line
Sainz: Last-lap pass felt like a title on the line

Sainz's finishing position in the drivers' standings meant he broke the top three team's monopoly, as he finished one point ahead of Pierre Gasly and four clear of Alex Albon.

Speaking about the achievement of beating drivers that had half a season each racing for Red Bull, Sainz said: "In modern F1 to beat two guys that were in a much faster car for 10 races, and still manage to get nearly 100 points and P6 in the championship, is something that before the year I couldn't even think about.

"Coming to this weekend, I knew it was going to be tough but I had a small chance and we made it stick.

"I had a bit of a world championship approach, trying to put myself a bit under pressure for that, thinking that this might be one day me fighting for the world championship.

"It worked well."

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