McLaren duo Sainz and Norris tipping Racing Point to be 'best of the rest'
Lando Norris believes Racing Point is now favourite to secure this season’s ‘best of the rest’ spot behind Mercedes and Red Bull unless his McLaren team can start to get to grips with its latest upgrades.
McLaren had a 16-point lead over Racing Point four races ago but that advantage has been overhauled to drop them two points behind to fourth, while a resurgent Renault is just four points adrift in fifth.
Racing Point is third despite both drivers missing races due to Covid-19 and a 15- point penalty for breaching the regulations, leaving Norris to believe more speed is required if they are to stay in the hunt in what has become a tight three-way battle.
“Considering Racing Point are still up there with the difficulties they have had, you’d say they are probably the favourites of all of us,” said Norris. “At the same time, Renault are very fast and we are doing our best job to stay ahead.
“It changes every weekend. I don’t think one is miles better than any other. Some weekends we see Racing Point be extremely fast and in a class above, and not far off the top two teams, then the next weekend we see Renault do very well.
“That’s the reason we are all so close in the championship. We have new parts on the car and we need to figure them out to expose them to the maximum, then we can be more confident in taking the fight back to them.”
McLaren started off the season with Norris on the podium and two double-points finishes, but Sainz then clocked up two 13th places, leaving the Spaniard to suggest a failure to pick up more points early on could cost them.
“When the car was at its strongest at the start of the year, where we could achieve good results and Racing Point didn’t look as strong, I did lose a lot of points there,” said Sainz. “That affected a lot the rest of the year.
“Definitely our competitors have become stronger and it is a lot more challenging now to get six points than it was a few races ago, so we will keep our heads down and try to make the car faster.”
The team has struggled to understand some of the upgrades introduced in recent races, but Sainz added: “The fact the team keeps bringing new parts to the track is a good sign the team is fighting through.
"Like always in F1 there will be some bits that work and others that don’t.
“Here we are now, having discovered which of the parts we think were helping and which were not helping so much and we will try to put together a bit of a compromise on the car and make it as fast as possible.”
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