Carlos Sainz Jr. says McLaren cannot consider Racing Point as direct rivals under current conditions, saying the squad is “in another league.”
McLaren currently sits ahead of Racing Point in the Constructors’ Championship after a strong pair of results in Austria, including a maiden podium for Lando Norris.
But its pace at the Hungaroring has not been as strong and despite getting both cars into Q3 it mustered only eighth and ninth, with Norris in front of Sainz Jr., the slowest of the drivers who set a time.
Racing Point, meanwhile, finished third and fourth, with Lance Stroll ahead of Sergio Perez on the second row of the grid.
“Where our two cars are at the moment is where we are,” said Sainz Jr.
“With the two Ferraris, the Red Bulls and the two Racing Points in another league.
“They are closer to Mercedes than we are to them, so it is very difficult to beat.
“We also seem to be struggling so it is a combination of teams doing better than expected and others doing worse.
“Personally the feeling of the car is still not there, the last sector has been a handful for me the whole weekend. Never really nailing it and feeling the rear of the car fully planted.”
Norris echoed team-mate Sainz Jr.’s sentiments.
“I am not going to say that today was bad – we are a bit more where we expected to be this weekend,” he said.
“It is clear that Mercedes are in another league as usual. Racing Point is in a very similar fashion. Ferrari were back where they should be, they just did a decent job today, and they have a better car than us, especially here.”