Despite closing the gap down to five points on Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly, Carlos Sainz believes any hopes of climbing the Formula 1 standings will remain short-lived in 2019.

The McLaren driver heads into the summer break on an impressive run of form, taking points in eight of the last nine races including a pair of fifth places over the German and Hungarian rounds, to see the Spaniard take control in the F1 midfield fight.

Coupled with Gasly’s continued struggles at Red Bull, Sainz has moved to just five points behind the French driver. While Sainz has poured credit on McLaren’s progress and efforts over the first half of the season, he doesn’t feel surpassing Gasly in the drivers’ standings is likely over the final nine rounds.

“I don’t think that’s going to last much, unfortunately, but it just shows how well we’re doing at the moment and how consistent we are since Baku,” Sainz said. “I don’t know how many points I’ve got, but it’s been incredible.

“The first three races, we were very unlucky, things didn’t come together, but since Baku the hard work over the winter, the hard work that I spend in the factory in Woking, it’s just paying off a lot. We keep performing every weekend with great strategy, great pit stops, good on Sundays, and that’s how it should be and what we need to keep doing.”

Sainz feels McLaren will remain in the midfield fight for the remainder of this season and wants his team to focus on continued improvements as preparation for a stronger challenge in 2020.

“I don’t think we’re going to be able to break out of the midfield in the second half of the season. We might bring a few tenths to the car which would be great, but everyone is going to bring them, so we need to be careful,” he said.

“What we need to make sure is that we learn the right steps to do on the car this year, and learn them from next year. I think that’s the main target for the second half of the season, learn about this car to make sure we put all the things in the right place for next year’s car.”

McLaren are fourth in the F1 world constructors’ championship on 82 points, 39 points clear of nearest challengers Toro Rosso, but a mammoth 162 points splits the Woking-based team to Red Bull in third place in the standings.



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