McLaren 'has to be happy' with start to F1 testing - Sainz
|By Adam Cooper and Jack Benyon||Monday, February 18th 2019, 18:53 GMT|
New McLaren signing Carlos Sainz Jr says the team has to be "proud" and "happy" after it began Formula 1 testing at Barcelona with second fastest time on day one.
Former Renault driver Sainz put McLaren sixth in the early Monday session, conducting 56 laps.
But shortly after the beginning of the afternoon session, his car lost drive at the exit of the pitlane and he had to be wheeled back in.
A strong end to the day on the C3 tyre then meant Sainz was able to steal second fastest time from Haas driver Romain Grosjean, ending the day with 119 laps - the third-highest tally.
"Everyone in the team has to be proud, has to be happy," said Sainz.
"The hard work over the winter, the plan we put together to have the car early for the presentation and to be out on track at nine o'clock [has paid off].
"This afternoon we completed some long runs, we finished the day with the red flags at six o'clock.
"So it was definitely a good way to start, and definitely people here at the track are happy.
"But we must not forget all the people back at Woking who are the main ones who put together this car."
McLaren had difficult starts to pre-season testing in recent years, both with Honda (pictured above) and then in its first campaign with Renault in 2018.
Though it was the last team other than Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull to win a race, that victory is now over six years ago.
But Sainz said the "quality" and "professionalism" he had encountered at the team had given him encouragement.
"I realised the quality there is at McLaren since the day I arrived at the team," he said.
"That has never been a question, and even before arriving at the team, I had a lot of trust in this team.
"In six years you cannot forget how to make fast cars, although we are still far away from where we want to be.
"But I like when I see the car, the attention to detail; the steering, how the seat is done. You can see there is professional people, tidy people, a clean atmosphere and I definitely like that."