Renault has made progress with its Formula 1 engine but remains “a good step” behind Ferrari, according to McLaren driver Carlos Sainz Jr.

Ferrari appears to be the power unit benchmark in 2019 and introduced its first engine upgrade of the year at the Spanish Grand Prix, which the Scuderia said had demonstrated a further increase in performance.

Renault also brought an upgraded power unit to Barcelona in a bid to improve performance and reliability for itself and customer team McLaren.

“I think Renault has definitely done progress in terms of power, you see at every track this year we are a lot closer to the top,” Sainz said.

“But there is still one engine for me which is excelling which is the Ferrari engine in qualifying mode, which is still a good step ahead.

“Renault has made progress and on the power side, this engine is supposed to be a progress in reliability - which is where we are at the weakest.

“So hopefully we will keep moving forward and they will keep bringing steps but compared to last year we definitely have more power.

“I cannot tell you exactly the gap between the engines as that is a quite private thing for the manufacturers but it is not for me to comment. But it is a good step.”

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