Carlos Sainz has issued a warning to McLaren as they engage in a fierce battle with Ferrari for third place in the constructors’ championship.
The McLaren team has been surging in recent races and is now only 79 points behind the Scuderia with five rounds left.
McLaren’s Lando Norris and rookie sensation Oscar Piastri have been in sensational form, with both drivers consistently delivering strong performances. In the past two Grand Prix races in Japan and Qatar, Norris and Piastri shared the podium with Max Verstappen.
Additionally, McLaren celebrated a Sprint victory at the Lusail International Circuit, where Piastri secured his debut win in Formula 1, starting from pole position, while Norris began in second place.
The Qatar Grand Prix weekend saw McLaren making significant inroads into Ferrari’s lead, with Carlos Sainz finishing sixth in the Sprint and Charles Leclerc initially taking seventh place before being demoted to twelfth due to a post-session penalty for exceeding track limits.
In the main race, Leclerc finished in fifth place, but Sainz was unable to start due to a fuel system issue that forced Ferrari to retire his car.
This unexpected turn of events allowed McLaren to narrow the gap to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.
Rather than focusing on Aston Martin in fourth place, McLaren has now set their sights on overtaking Ferrari.
The Japanese Grand Prix had already seen McLaren making strides in the championship battle, with Norris securing second place and Piastri finishing third, while Sainz claimed victory in Singapore and Norris finished second.
In the race at Suzuka, the Scuderia took fourth place with Leclerc, while Sainz finished in sixth. McLaren gained a significant 47 points on Ferrari over these two rounds.
The upcoming races, which include another Sprint weekend at the United States Grand Prix, offer Norris and Piastri ample opportunities to close the gap and potentially surpass Ferrari in the constructors’ championship.
However, Sainz believes that even if McLaren consistently finishes ahead of Ferrari in the remaining races, the Scuderia should retain their third position.
Sainz, who was previously a McLaren driver, also revealed that he has engaged in discussions with Lando Norris about their ongoing battle in the constructors’ championship.
Sainz explained, “If we don’t have any other DNSs or DNFs, I think we should be able to keep them behind.
“It doesn’t mean that they’re not going to beat us.
“I think they’re going to beat us in most of the races from here to the end of the season if all things align because they do have a very quick car nowadays and they look to be the only ones that can sometimes bother Red Bull.”
Sainz and Norris recently shared their thoughts on the unpredictable nature of the championship fight. “I was playing golf with Lando [on Wednesday] and we were discussing whether they will be ahead this weekend, if we will be ahead. Maybe quali, maybe race.
“Basically, we don’t know. But so let’s see,” Sainz remarked.