McLaren: Our fight is not with Mercedes at Monza

McLaren Formula 1 boss Andreas Seidl stresses that the team’s fight is not with Mercedes in the Italian Grand Prix, and it has to focus on the challenge from behind.

McLaren: Our fight is not with Mercedes at Monza
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Carlos Sainz starts the Monza race from third place, and McLaren’s form off the line in 2020 suggests that he has a chance of mixing it with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas that start from the front row.

However Seidl insists if Sainz does get ahead of a Mercedes at the start, McLaren won’t compromise its battle for third place in the race, and especially with the teams that it is currently fighting in the constructors’ world championship.

Racing Point's Sergio Perez starts fourth and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo seventh, with the latter in particular showing good race pace.

“I think in terms of approach it will not be different to any other race,” said Seidl when asked by Motorsport.com. “We usually have good starts, and always go into lap one trying to overtake the cars in front of us.

“I am sure we will try to do the same tomorrow, but even if that would happen and we could jump one of the Mercedes at the start, then you need to find the right balance on whether it actually makes sense to fight these guys, or try to keep them behind.

“Because in the end you may lose more performance by trying to do something that is simply not possible."

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Seidl agrees that fifth place starter Max Verstappen is the biggest threat to Sainz in the race, despite an underpar qualifying.

“In terms of the cars that are behind Carlos at the moment, or between Carlos and Lando [Norris, who starts sixth], we have seen on Friday they had strong long runs, the Renault and the Red Bull with Max," Seidl said.

"He is always someone we would never underestimate in terms of race craft as well and the power they also have.

“So if everything goes normal I think it will be difficult to keep Max behind, but then I think we can put up a good fight with the starting positions we have against the Racing Points and the Renaults. and this is what we will try. 

"But as I said we will try to keep whoever is behind us, behind us as long as we can.”

The close battle for third place in the world championship, with McLaren, Racing Point, Ferrari and Renault separated by just nine points, adds extra intrigue to today’s race.

“In the end I think this fight in the constructors’ championship will be down to maximising race weekends,” said Seidl.

“The qualifying, and especially the Sundays in terms of race strategy, pitstops, driver performance, starts, getting through lap one also which is also a challenge here in the first and second chicane.

“But I think we have everything in our hands to score some good points again, and that is what we are aiming for.”

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