Carlos Sainz Jr took extra confidence from his strong result at the British Grand Prix despite feeling he and his McLaren Formula 1 car were not at “100 percent.”

The Spaniard made early progress from 13th on the grid - having found himself eliminated in Q2 - and took advantage of a Safety Car period to leapfrog a number of his rivals into the top 10, before going on to seal sixth place having fended off Renault's Daniel Ricciardo

His joint-best result of the season enabled McLaren to stretch its lead over midfield rivals Renault to 21 points in the constructors’ championship.

“I must say this weekend the car and myself were not 100 percent, mainly in low-speed we felt we were struggling with the rear-end, so we know we need to improve the rear-end in low-speed,” Sainz explained.

“It meant we had to run a bit more wing, which meant we were slower on the straights and when the wind changed in the middle of the race and became a headwind, it meant we all of a sudden meant we were slow on the straights.

“It was a bit of a wind change that could us out and meant we were slow on the straights but at the same we made all the right calls on the strategy and we were very fast.

“We have a first theory and a first indication, quite a clear indication of what happened [in Q2] which coming into the day relaxed me quite a lot, because it meant that we didn’t get the most out of what we got,” he added.

“It made me confident that by changing a few settings on the car, I would be a lot quicker and as soon as I left the pitlane I knew I was going to have fun.”

Sainz believes his fast-start was key to the overall result and reckons he had so much pace he could have still scored a strong result even without the timely appearance of a Safety Car.

“I must say one of the keys of the whole race was the start, taking the two Alfa Romeo cars out of the way, that was my one and only target for the first three laps,” he said.

“From there on just let the Soft runners go away, degrade the tyres, and once they pitted I started doing green sectors, a bit like in Austria.

“A bit of the same execution and then we were on a one-stop strategy, the bonus of a one-stop strategy with the Safety Car, but even without a Safety Car I think with the one-stop strategy that we were about to do, we were in a very good place.

“Until the end it was tight - we had a lot of pace and I felt like I was flying but suddenly I saw a yellow car [Renault] in my mirrors, he was flying also, mainly into the straights.

“They were dragging a lot less, which meant they could carry a lot more speed onto the straights, less clipping, we were cutting a lot the battery which makes defending very difficult.

“I knew the Renaults would be quick, although in the first stint they struggled. I wanted to be on a one-stop and show the pace that I had, even without the Safety Car the Hard was such a good tyre today that it would have taken us to the end easily and we could have stayed in a very strong position.”