Not too far behind Lance Stroll in the FP2 times, Andreas Seidl believes McLaren is up against Ferrari, Renault and one Racing Point at the Styrian GP.
Last time out at the Red Bull Ring for round one of the championship, Lando Norris got the better of both Racing Point drivers.
The 20-year-old finished third having pulled off a late wheel-banging move on Sergio Perez while Carlos Sainz also jumped the Mexican racer to bag P5.
It was a strong start to the season for the Woking team, who sit second in the standings after the Austrian Grand Prix.
However, so far at this weekend’s Styrian race it looks as if Perez at least has the better of McLaren.
He was third fastest in Friday’s second practice, 0.2s behind Mercedes, and 0.3s ahead of his own team-mate Stroll.
Sainz, McLaren’s best placed driver on the day, was less than a tenth behind Stroll.
As such team boss Seidl reckons his McLaren drivers will be fighting Stroll, Ferrari and Renault this Sunday.
Speaking to Sky Sports F1, he said: “I’m quite pleased, because we could confirm again with P5 and P8 on one lap [pace] that we are there.
“What’s good to see is that I think we are again in the fight with Ferrari and Renault, and with one Racing Point.
“If you look at the cars in front of us, I think we have seen the first time that Racing Point could actually show the potential of the one-year-old Mercedes.
“That was definitely a lap time we could not do, but it was a good session for us.”
Seidl added that he expected to see Racing Point fighting up near the front given that this year’s RP20 is based on last year’s championship-winning Mercedes W10.
The W10 won both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship, taking 15 of 21 race wins.
“I’ve always said, if you take last year’s Mercedes, and operate it at the optimum potential, we know that we didn’t make this step with the car development on our side over the winter so it’s just normal what we see of them,” he said.
“At the same time there is at least one car on the Racing Point side that we can fight, and as we know in the race anything can happen.
“We have seen last weekend that we were not as strong on Friday and could fight them on Sunday, and we will try again.”
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