Sainz: Unseen last-lap move felt like world title decider

The Spaniard had to finish in the top 10 to guarantee himself a top six finish in the drivers’ championship, but was running 11th on the final lap behind Hulkenberg.

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

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

Asked by Motorsport.com about the manoeuvre, which was not caught on television, 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 nine, and I decided to 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 Perez, I said ‘okay 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.”