McLaren not just 'best of the rest' anymore - Sainz
Carlos Sainz reckons McLaren’s performances this season have developed so much that they should be recognised more than simply the ‘best of the rest’ team behind Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull.
The team has been a revelation this campaign with Sainz striking up a fruitful partnership with rookie Lando Norris both on and off the track. The duo have worked alongside new team principal Andreas Seidl to make fourth position in the championship their own, but the Spaniard thinks they are now in a position to match and punish the top three if the opportunity were to present itself.
"We are not only best of the rest but we are managing to profit if something happens to the guys in front," he said.
"And it's not easy, it's not easy to finish best of the rest or qualify best of the rest as much as I've been doing in these last three races because, trust me, it is tight and we're just putting together a strong weekend."
Sainz finished fifth in the last GP in Japan, which matched his best result of the season, and he thinks such achievements should be recognised as McLaren maximising their current potential.
"Yeah, that's why when on Sundays people ask me 'another best of the rest?” he said when asked if the results felt like victories.
"It sounds a bit disappointing to me because it's really tough to keep doing it every weekend.
"But we've been very strong and I'm very proud of it."
McLaren and Sainz were particularly impressive at Suzuka as the pace of the car actually made Charles Leclerc give up his pursuit of fifth in his Ferrari, and the 25-year-old thinks this highlights the gains they have made.
"At the end of the race I told the team 'thanks for a great car all weekend, very proud of being finally a bit more than best of the rest, we were clearly a step clear this weekend, and cheers to a decent driver!”, he exclaimed.
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