McLaren praise Sainz, keen to capture P6 in championship

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McLaren team boss Andreas Seidl is pushing to secure Carlos Sainz sixth in the Drivers' standings.

The Spaniard is looking to capitalise on Red Bull's second driver dramas in 2019 and currently sits just three points behind Pierre Gasly and 17 clear of Alex Albon.

Sainz, himself a former Red Bull junior, is in that position thanks to six top-six finishes in the past 11 races as McLaren enjoy a very solid season and Seidl is now keen to finish the job.

“For the Drivers' Championship clearly our target with Carlos is to score P6,” he is quoted by RaceFans.

“There are two main competitors which are Gasly and Albon. Albon is catching up quickly So hopefully we can keep this fight up as long as possible."

The German then heralded the consistency of Sainz, who is a massive 31 points clear of the next midfield driver, that being his teammate Lando Norris.

“It’s impressive what Carlos is pulling off not just in qualifying but also what he’s doing race by race," he said.

“He was really unlucky in six races so far this year not scoring points, but whenever we gave him the machine to battle it out the track. He’s delivering and that’s impressive.”

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Asked how he has been able to sustain that performance despite the numerous setback, the Spaniard put it down to composure.

“None of the zeros in the first half the season were really my fault, and none of the three consecutive zeros after the summer break were my fault,” he told Crash.net.

“So it was just a matter of one race, nothing happening and being back to being best of the rest.

“That’s the patience that I’m having this year, trying not to lose my head too much with those zeros – with the touch with Nico [Hulkenberg in Singapore], with the pit stop in Monza when running in P6.

“It was just a matter of time again that it came back to us.”

Sainz's strong performances have also been the catalyst for McLaren to sit fourth in the Constructors' standings, leading the midfield pack.

Currently, the British team hold that position by 33 points over Renault but their German boss still isn't getting complacent.

“Although we head to Suzuka with an increased lead over our midfield competitors in the Constructors’ Championship, we are mindful that we still have work to do to lock down this position,” Seidl said in McLaren's Japanese GP preview.

“The competition for these positions is very close, and can change over the course of a single weekend.

“From our side, we must focus on keeping the battle in our own hands, and that relies on maximising our on-track performance and trackside operations.”

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