McLaren: Ferrari 'one more good result' from returning to fight for P3

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McLaren fears Ferrari could pip their midfield rivals to the post in the battle for third following recent strong results.

The Italian team has significantly closed the gap to Racing Point, McLaren and Renault, with the latter just six points ahead in fifth, while a 24-point deficit remains to Racing Point in third.

But after charging to third and fourth two weeks ago in Istanbul, and two races coming up in Bahrain where they've historically been strong, McLaren boss Andreas Seidl is looking over his shoulder.

“We definitely don’t have the third or fourth quickest car at the moment in this battle,” he was quoted by Racer.

“From what we’ve seen now from Ferrari one more good result and suddenly we’re fighting with four teams for this P3, P4, P5 and P6.

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“I’m not worried or concerned, I’m just realistic and I know what a team like Ferrari, with all the resources they have, can do," he added.

"It’s not a surprise they are coming back during the season. We never underestimated this power that Ferrari has, they have two great drivers also and are obviously a great team.

“So that’s the reality we are in."

Given that Seidl already acknowledged McLaren may have only the fifth or sixth-fastest car right now, what can they do to try and keep their chances of third alive?

"It’s simply important to focus on ourselves, to see that we extract the maximum from what we can do with everything we have," he said.

"We have a competitive car which is a great step forward from last year, we now have more points after this number of races already compared to last year, which shows again we made a great step forward with the team; but at the same time, we have very strong competitors.

“We just hope we can keep this battle alive until the last race. We will give it our all as a team. I see how committed everyone is inside the team, how great the spirit is in the garage and back home and that gives me a lot of confidence that we can keep this battle alive.

"At the same time, independent of the outcome of this championship, the most important thing is for me to clearly see that we make progress as a team.”

As for Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto, he is delughted by the recent progress made with the SF1000 as he looks ahead to 2021, when the cars will be largely the same.

“It’s obviously very important for Ferrari doing well at the moment,” he said.

“We know that we have improved the car and, if you look at the last races, we improved our position in the race. I think the car has become more consistent and the car has become a bit faster.

“So it’s great, at least, to have those results, because I think it’s great for next year. It’s great looking ahead as well to the next races. I think that as well in terms of constructor positions, it’s not the end of the championship, so it’s encouraging.

“The people are working hard back at home trying to understand the weaknesses of the car and trying to address them. And especially, as we are preparing for next season, those results somehow are encouraging ourselves.”