Studying Alonso's driving helped in F1 US GP fight, Sainz believes

Toro Rosso's Carlos Sainz Jr says studying his idol Fernando Alonso's Formula 1 driving for more than a decade helped in their battle during the United States Grand Prix

Studying Alonso's driving helped in F1 US GP fight, Sainz believes

In the final stint of the Austin race, Alonso was on medium tyres and lapping rapidly when he caught the battle for fifth between Sainz and the Williams of Felipe Massa.

US Grand Prix driver ratings

On soft tyres and having stopped one lap before Alonso, Sainz was focused on tyre management, but had absorbed pressure from Massa after getting ahead thanks to the virtual safety car.

Alonso forced his way past Massa with five laps to go, and then hustled Sainz, eventually using DRS and battery power to pass his countryman into Turn 12 on the penultimate lap.

"Everything I have to learn from him, I have learned it in the past 12 years when I saw him battling," said Sainz, who finished sixth behind Alonso.

"He was my hero, my idol and I know how does the flick and cut back with the traction.

"I knew getting into Turn 1, he would try this, so I defended a lot on the inside.

"After so much studying, I learned and I'm happy he went by just with the DRS and using battery and saying 'ciao, ciao' and I said 'OK, whatever, see you later'."

Sainz said he knew it would be tough to get Alonso back once the move was completed.

"I said, 'OK you caught me easy, but I'm going to make you look in your mirrors on braking to see if you lock up' and he did lock up," he said.

"But I didn't have the traction after the hairpin to get him back. I did everything I could to stay ahead.

"It was like Massa did all the job for [Alonso] as he just found the slowest car on the straights with the worst tyres in the field to overtake.

"His first comment after seeing me after the race was, 'you have a parachute on the straight, you are so slow on the straight it was so easy to get you on the back straight!'

"I'm happy the battle was for P5 and not a P10 and I'm also happy we kept it clean."

Sainz scored his first points since July's Hungarian Grand Prix and equalled his best-ever F1 result.

"It reminds me a bit of the Barcelona one with some good tyre management and good qualifying," he said.

"This one is a tiny bit better because at the end we didn't have the car to be fighting for P5 or the top speed to defend."

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