China ‘poses new challenge’ for McLaren

Carlos Sainz says he was "puzzled" by McLaren performances when fighting them for Renault in 2018.

Carlos Sainz says he was "puzzled" by McLaren performances when fighting them for Renault in 2018.

After encouraging early season signs, McLaren are ready to tackle a new challenge at the Chinese Grand Prix.

McLaren have provided a few examples so far that their MCL34 can be a competitive one, solidified by Lando Norris’ excellent P6 at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

The characteristics of the Shanghai International Circuit are different to that of Australia and Bahrain, and McLaren want to show that their car is also a versatile one.

“The Chinese Grand Prix will again pose a new challenge to our MCL34,” sporting director Gil de Ferran said in McLaren’s race preview.

“The nature of the street circuit in Australia and night race in Bahrain have worked well for us, however the Shanghai International Circuit has very different characteristics to these previous tracks, which could again shift the competitive balance between the teams.

“Regardless, there is no shift in our focus for China, which will be maximising each day of the weekend, hopefully making a step forward in performance and ensuring that we perform well on Saturday to give ourselves the best chance for Sunday.”

While Norris has been able to put points on the board, Sainz has been unfortunate to suffer back-to-back DNFs, neither of which was his fault.

“I head to China recharged and ready to fight again,” Sainz added.

“Our pace was strong in Bahrain, both in qualifying and especially at the start of the race.

“Unfortunately, I got hit and later on had to retire the car due to the gearbox, but I prefer to take the positives to China where the varied layout of the Shanghai circuit will give us an even better idea of the MCL34’s performance.

“Turn One is a challenging but fun corner and the long straight heading into Turn 14 should offer up some exciting racing opportunities.”

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