McLaren not expecting regular Red Bull battles

McLaren thinks it is too much to expect it to be able to regularly battle Red Bull from now on, despite its promising performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

McLaren not expecting regular Red Bull battles

The Woking-based outfit has made good progress with its car this year, and Carlos Sainz tried to pull a move on eventual fourth-place finisher Max Verstappen at Sakhir last weekend before they clashed.

Although the collision put Sainz out of contention, the fact he was able to challenge a Red Bull has pointed to good potential in the team's car.

But McLaren CEO Zak Brown has urged caution about the team's situation, and he still believes that there is a big gap between the top three teams and the rest of the field.

Asked by Motorsport.com if he was hopeful of more Red Bull battles this year, he said: "I think that will probably be optimistic.

"I was pleasantly surprised we were as close to them at the weekend. But I think we still feel there is a big gap to the top three, and I don't think this weekend changes our views."

Sainz's teammate Lando Norris finished best of the rest in Bahrain with a sixth-placed finish to take his first points, having made two consecutive Q3 appearances.

But Brown thinks that the battle in the middle of the pack is so close that results will swing dramatically from one weekend to another.

"We definitely feel we had a made a step but it is close in the midfield," he said. "There is just nothing between fourth and ninth.

"I still think there will be weekends where we are the fourth/fifth quickest team and other weekends where we are eighth/ninth quickest team. So far we have been near the fourth/fifth in qualifying and race pace, but I think it will be track specific.

"You need the team to execute well but on the drivers we are really pleased with how Carlos and Lando are on it.

"If you look at some of the other teams, some of them have a divide between their drivers, so when it is such a close race everything is going to count.

"I am really pleased we have the two drivers we have, because that can make a difference in the team championship. So for us it's just head down and we've got to keep working hard because it is a development war."

shares
comments
Why Schumacher is a junior driver like no other

Previous article

Why Schumacher is a junior driver like no other

Next article

Revealing the full scale of Racing Point’s expansion

Revealing the full scale of Racing Point’s expansion
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams McLaren
Author Jonathan Noble
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021