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Carlos Sainz: "We nearly match Mercedes on the straights"

He and teammate Lando Norris will stay at McLaren for 2020, too

“We definitely found a way to start moving toward the top, but we are still very far away from where we want to be.” So says Carlos Sainz about the McLaren Formula 1 team that employs him. McLaren are on their road to recovery, but the Spaniard knows they aren’t at their destination yet.

“We know how far away we are from our ultimate objective. It is important to stay humble, to stay realistic, because we are still a second off from where we want to be. But at least there are signs of progress, the team is full of motivation and we are going to keep pushing.

“Nowadays Formula 1 is all about downforce; we have a decently competitive engine and we know we can nearly match Mercedes on the straights. We know they have downforce but they also have more drag, but it’s on cornering speeds where they are a good step ahead of us, together with Red Bull.

“I think the rules are going to be stable, so every change you make to the car this year will be on the launch car next year. Whatever you bring to the car in 2019 is going to help in 2020, so every development we do this year will help next year.”

Sainz will be there to drive the car, too, with McLaren confirming that both he and teammate Lando Norris will continue as their driver line up in the 2020 season. Good news for McLaren, as they crave a bit of stability, and for Sainz, who’s loving working alongside Norris.

“We are both enjoying it,” he tells Top Gear. “We came into the team with the same philosophy of ‘let’s help, between you and me, to move this team forward’. It comes naturally to get on well with a guy like him. We’re just enjoying the year, making sure together we put positive energy into the team.

“There’s always pressure to maintain yourself in Formula 1. It’s my fifth season, so I’m starting to feel a bit more established, after surviving as one of the only drivers to leave the Red Bull programme but still be in the sport. Now it’s a matter of ‘when do I want to win?’ I want to win as soon as possible, and I think I’m at the right place at the right time to just get the momentum, and think about winning in the future.”

Reckon that win might eventually arrive with McLaren?

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