McLaren must take 'every opportunity it has' to extend its advantage over Formula 1 rivals Racing Point.
Only Mercedes scored more points than McLaren in the F1 season opener, but practice two for the Styrian Grand Prix showcased the true pace of the Racing Point RP20.
While practice was completed in dry conditions, heavy rain fell for qualifying, and as McLaren again reached the top-ten shoot-out with both cars, Racing Point were unable to replicate the earlier performance with Lance Stroll qualifying P13 and Sergio Perez P17.
“Every opportunity we have, we need to extend the championship lead on them, because they are the fastest car at the moment of the midfield," said Carlos Sainz, the driver lining up third on the grid. "I would even argue that they are not part of the midfield any more.
“We’re going to try our best. Tomorrow could be a very different day, so we need to keep our focus, but if the season is long, they are going to make us suffer with the pace they have."
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Such was the pace of Racing Point on Friday, Lando Norris expects even Mercedes performed a double take when looking at the timing screens.
The 20-year-old, who starts ninth after receiving a three place grid penalty, commented, “I think the pace they showed on Friday was kind of a qualifying style run, knowing today was a high chance of it being cancelled and maybe not doing qualifying tomorrow morning.
“Everyone turned it up, and they had much better pace than they did last weekend. I don’t know if its because of the conditions, or they learnt a bit more about their car.
“But they were very close to Mercedes, which I’m sure almost worried Mercedes a little bit.”
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