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McLaren comparing data with Mercedes, Ferrari - not midfield

McLaren comparing data with Mercedes, Ferrari - not midfield

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McLaren comparing data with Mercedes, Ferrari - not midfield

McLaren comparing data with Mercedes, Ferrari - not midfield

Carlos Sainz says McLaren are comparing themselves to front-running teams Ferrari and Mercedes, rather than their midfield rivals, as they look for areas to improve the MCL34. McLaren are 'best-of-the-rest' after four races in fourth place in the constructors' standings.

McLaren's results are not markedly better compared to the same point in 2018, although a more humble approach to pre-season frames them in a notably better light.

The team has impressed in qualifying – the Chinese GP is the only event so far this year that has not featured a McLaren in Q3.

Bad fortune – especially for Sainz – has cost McLaren points, but the Spaniard says the team remains highly ambitious for the races to come.

"Pretty much every area I think we still need to improve," he said. "Because we look at Mercedes, we see where they are, we look at Ferrari, and then you look at the data and you see that every area of the car needs to be improved.

"If we compare ourselves against the midfield, then we only need to improve in little areas to come on top.

"But we are not comparing ourselves against that. We are comparing ourselves to a car that is a second quicker at the moment than us. And that's the target, to improve in every area."

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Sainz failed to finish any of the first three races before coming home in seventh last time out in Azerbaijan, a relieving result for the McLaren newcomer.

"On a personal level, this one is a bit of a relief after three races where I just had exactly that pace," he said.

"I had it in the first three races but just for a reason that I still don't understand, three consecutive runs of bad luck happened to us.

"We finally didn't have any issues and we just demonstrated what we are capable of doing."

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