McLaren: “Perfect execution” vital in huge battle over third

McLaren F1 team principal Andreas Seidl believes the battle for third in the constructors’ championship will be won by which team best executes its races in comparison to rivals.

McLaren: “Perfect execution” vital in huge battle over third
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McLaren moved up to third place in the Formula 1 constructors’ standings after Lando Norris finished seventh in the Belgian Grand Prix, beating Racing Point drivers Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.

The result left McLaren on 68 points, two clear of Racing Point and seven ahead of Ferrari, while Renault sits just nine points off third place after a strong weekend at Spa. With Mercedes and Red Bull far clear in the top two positions, it has left the battle for third place in the constructors’ championship finely poised nearing the halfway point of the season.

Seidl said it was “difficult to judge” if McLaren was consistently the third-quickest team so far this season, feeling that Racing Point was ahead on raw performance. But he felt the battle between McLaren, Racing Point, Ferrari and Renault would be settled by which team had the cleanest weekends and avoided dropping too many points.

“We still do not have enough samples [to say if we’re third-quickest]” said Seidl. “I still think that the Racing Point is definitely the third-strongest car in the field. Then there's a very tight battle in the ranking between the Ferraris, us and the Renaults, I would say.

“Then in the end, it comes down to maximising your weekends, making sure you get the perfect laps in Q3, making sure you have the perfect execution on the race Sunday, perfect reliability. I think that in the end will decide to championship we are in.”

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Seidl was left frustrated that McLaren missed an opportunity to take more points off Ferrari and Racing Point after a power unit failure meant Carlos Sainz could not start the race. The German is anticipating Renault to be “very strong” at Monza this weekend, given the pace of its car in a straight line at Spa, but was pleased to see McLaren fighting closely with the teams around it.

“I think we were not far off to fight the Renaults,” added Seidl. “We expect them also to be very strong in Monza, because they were also strong there last year. But if we just look at ourselves, the pace of the car was quite encouraging, and we could take points away from the Racing Points and from the Ferraris. We are back in P3 in the constructors’ championship which is good.

“Looking ahead, it is good to see we have a car that we can fight with all these teams around us. As we have seen it will also depend on track characteristics and layout, but it is good to be in this fight and to have a car and two drivers where we can take up this fight.”

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