Carlos Sainz names the rival team he expects to surge in Saudi Arabia

Sam Cooper
Carlos Sainz speaks in a press conference.

Carlos Sainz speaks to media.

Carlos Sainz has tipped McLaren to be one of the top teams in Saudi Arabia as Formula 1 prepares for the second round of the season.

Away from Red Bull, Ferrari were the strongest competitors in Bahrain but both them and their rivals were keen to stress it was only one circuit with different challenges to come.

Carlos Sainz tips McLaren Saudi success

The next challenge is the fast street circuit of Jeddah which is in stark contrast to the Bahrain layout.

It is for that reason that Sainz reckons McLaren will be closer to the front of the pack then they were in the opening race.

“Let’s see the differences first,” Sainz said of the race in Saudi. “We go with this new 2024 car so it will be a bit of a surprise for everyone to see where we are.

“I expect the cars like the McLaren, last year they were very good in high speed circuits, to be competitive there but you know our car has also improved in the high speed so hopefully we can be also stronger.”

McLaren finished P15 and P17 in last year’s race but their form dramatically improved later in the season. Lando Norris has also predicted the Woking team to be strong next weekend.

“It’s a bit more high speed, a bit more medium speed, which normally suits us,” he said. “There’s still things we’re going to struggle with a lot.

“It’s also a track which maybe should suit us a bit more. So excited for it.

“Plenty of things for us to learn, because it’s so different this car than what we had last year. More challenges, more question marks but on the whole, I’m hoping it suits a little bit more.” recommends

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As for his team-mate Oscar Piastri, he believed the MCL38 was where they expected it to be but thought that both Red Bull and Ferrari were a step ahead.

“I think it’s not a bad way to start the year compared to last year,” he said of the opening race. “We will definitely take it. The pace was more or less how I thought it would pan out.

“We’re very close with Mercedes, Ferrari seem a bit of a step ahead. Red Bull a clear step ahead. But honestly, not a bad way to start the year I think.

“We’ll see what the next few circuits have in store for us, some quicker layouts and very different tarmac so we’ll see if that suits us better or worse. Hopefully better.”

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