Carlos Sainz believes that, in the tight battle for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship, strong practice sessions can make a big difference.
McLaren are currently level on points with Racing Point and one behind Renault, the latter currently occupying the final slot in the top three.
With just four races to go and the cars all fairly evenly matched, any one of the three could prevail. Given this, Sainz says that his team has to be operating at 100% throughout the weekend if gains are to be made on Sundays.
“We’ve managed to score important points in the last races and the fight for third in the Constructors’ is insanely close, with only one point separating us and our rivals. I don’t remember a tighter battle in the midfield in recent years,” he said.
“We can’t afford to lose any opportunity and every session of the weekend is important. Extracting the most from the car starting on Friday and into quali can make a big difference for the race. Every little detail can have an impact and with only four races left we need to keep focused.
“I don’t think anyone would’ve predicted us to race at Istanbul Park at the start of the year but it’s great that we are. Another new track for me and for many others.
“It looks like an interesting old-school circuit that should provide a few opportunities to overtake, and hopefully we can put on a good show for the fans and bring home a good result.”
Like Sainz and most of the grid, Lando Norris has never raced at Istanbul Park, and he’s one of many of them who is looking forward to driving the iconic Turn 8.
“Istanbul Park will be a new challenge for me this weekend as I’ve never raced there before, but it’s a track I’m really looking forward to. From what I’ve seen, and the clips I’ve watched online, it has all the parts to make it an exciting race,” he said.
“Obviously, when people talk about this track they mention Turn 8, which will be a fun challenge to go flat-out around the multi-apex left-hander in the cars we have this season.
“The midfield battle is so close with only one point separating three teams. I know everyone in the team will give it their all to try and do the best we possibly can this weekend.
“Hopefully, the track will give us more chances to overtake than in Imola, so we can try and score some important points.”