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Formula 1 Spanish GP

McLaren now has best package in F1, says Sainz

Despite Lando Norris being beaten to victory in Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix, rival Ferrari thinks McLaren is now the most impressive car.

McLaren now has the best package in Formula 1 and is not suffering fluctuations that even Red Bull is enduring, reckons Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.
 
While Lando Norris was beaten to victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, the pace he was able to show as he closed in on winner Max Verstappen highlighted the progress his team has made.
 
And for Sainz, the fact that McLaren’s MCL38 does not appear to have any major weaknesses – something even Red Bull cannot boast about because of its kerb-riding problems – that puts the Woking squad at the top of his list of the best cars.
 
“I think honestly, the most consistent car right now is a McLaren,” explained Sainz, whose team missed out on a podium finish in Barcelona.
 
“I think Red Bull are struggling in certain tracks. Same as us. McLaren is quick everywhere. They're quick in low-speed. They're flat in turn three and nine. They were fastest in turn five.
 
“So I just don't see McLaren having any weakness right now. For me, Red Bull is still up there. But McLaren is quick everywhere, which is quite impressive.”

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 2nd position, spray champagne in celebration at Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, 3rd position

Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing, 1st position, Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 2nd position, spray champagne in celebration at Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes-AMG F1 Team, 3rd position

Photo by: Simon Galloway / Motorsport Images


 
Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said he was in no doubt that Verstappen would have been beaten to the victory in Spain if Norris had not dropped back to third early on and lost time behind George Russell.
 
“I think if Lando would have had track position, it would have been difficult to beat him today,” he said. “I mean, it was so close between the two of them, they were, what, 18 seconds [15 second actually] ahead of the rest of the field.
 
“So I would say that Lando has emerged from the pack as the most consistent challenger.”
 
Asked if he felt that McLaren actually had the fastest car, Horner said: “I think McLaren looked fast, and certainly at the end of the stints which is something that we've seen at a couple of races now. So their degradation seems to be good.
 
“That was a little bit offset by the strategy and the overlap in the tyre life. But we had enough to get the job done.”

McLaren itself is a bit more circumspect about how things stack up against Red Bull, as team boss Andrea Stella felt that at best the two teams were totally evenly matched.
 
“I think the race pace was very, very similar,” he explained. “The fact that we were faster at the end is because we had fresher tyres. The fact that he was faster at the start is because we were behind Russell.
 
“But it would almost look like the great balance of performance that we had in qualifying, parity of performance - it almost transferred into the race, where normally you have some variations as a function of how you interact with the tyres.
 
“But at a track that is so demanding on tyres, so demanding on aerodynamics - that's really good news for the progress that we have made with the performance of the car.”

Additional reporting by Ben Hunt

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