Carlos Sainz says Racing Point and Alpha Tauri are the teams to beat if McLaren want to retain P4 in the Constructor’s Championship.
Right from the start of testing, Racing Point have caught the eye of the paddock as they have appeared consistently strong in the hands of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll. The similarity to last year’s Mercedes W10 has attracted some criticism, which has been strongly rebuffed by the team’s Technical Director Andrew Green.
“I think everyone is looking strong.” Sainz answered when asked who he thought was looking like being a serious McLaren rival. “I think every single team you look at at some point in the test, they have done a very strong lap time. So, its very difficult to know who is in front of the midfield or behind. I think Racing Point and Alpha Tauri…I would put them as probably our most dangerous guys to beat but I think we are all going to be in the mix.”
“It’s impossible to make any conclusions because three tenths in the mid-field, you go from being P7 on the grid to P17 so who has the last few tenths? No one knows and it is impossible to know who is going to be in front in the mid-field because 3 tenths is 10 positions.”
“What I really hope is all of us feels closer to the top then we were last year.” Sainz continued. “That would be my biggest wish, independent of the position. I wish the midfield this year is close enough to either not get lapped at every race or to make sure the leaders, on lap one, they don’t feel that we don’t even try to fight them. That would be my biggest thing.
On Thursday, Lando Norris said he felt the McLaren MCL35 was a good step forward compared to last year’s successful 2019 car – an assessment shared by Sainz: “I think i agree with Lando, maybe we’ve added some good downforce to the car. We’re happier than we were here 12 months ago. The car feels much better especially through Sectors 1 and 2. We tend to look very good, very well balanced.”
“Last sector today looked a bit better but still our weakness and something we need to be working on as a team.”