Carlos Sainz Jr. believes that Toro Rosso is out-developing its privateer rivals in Formula 1's midfield through the 2017 season, only losing ground on teams with manufacturer backing.

Toro Rosso is currently on course to match its best finish in the constructors' championship, sitting sixth in the standings with seven rounds to go.

With the likes of Haas, Renault and McLaren all snapping at the Red Bull B-team's heels, the result is far from certain, but Sainz is comforted by how Toro Rosso has out-developed its privateer competitors.

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"I think we are only out-developed by manufacturers. I think Toro Rosso hasn’t been out-developed by Force India or Williams or Haas," Sainz said.

"So in a way comparing to our similar budget competitors, I think Toro Rosso has done a decent job this year.

"It is not the super grippy high-downforce car it was in previous years, and simply McLaren and Renault have a lot more budget than us and have out-developed us. It’s no secret."