McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl says Racing Point has “clearly” the fastest car out of the Formula 1 midfield runners amid a titanic battle over third place in the constructors’ championship.

The Woking squad currently holds the coveted P3 position in the 2020 championship but saw its advantage trimmed to just two points after failing to score at the Russian Grand Prix, while Racing Point claimed a big points haul courtesy of Sergio Perez’s fourth-place finish.

Seidl is also wary about Renault’s recent resurgence, with the French manufacturer enjoying strong weekends in Belgium, Monza, Mugello and Sochi to close within seven points of McLaren, and stressed his side must continue its recent development push in order to stay ahead.

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“I think in terms of pure car potential I think the Racing Point is similar to how it has been in average since Barcelona test, it’s clearly the fastest car in this battle,” Seidl said.

“Renault is also clear they made a good step forward since I think Spa. At the same time we were always close battling them in the races like in Monza we were in front of them, or in the mix, in qualifying sessions.

“But of course we acknowledge they made a good step forward and it’s down to us to make sure that we also progress with our car and find the next step in terms of pace also if we want to keep this battle alive.

“But it’s positive to see how we tackle this situation also as a team, between let’s say the race team and the development team back home.

“It’s important to go back, analyse what happened this weekend, and also in detail what the introduction of this new nose box on Lando’s car - it’s important to make the right conclusions and bring upgrades in order to keep this battle alive.”

Seidl said McLaren coming away from a weekend without a top-10 finish for the first time in 13 races – a run stretching back to last year’s Mexican Grand Prix – was “tough to take”.

“The team – here at the track and back home – put in a lot of hard work, so it’s a tough one to take, especially with the great atmosphere in Sochi with fans finally back in the grandstands,” he added.

“It’s a very disappointing Sunday afternoon for us, coming away from Russia with zero points. Our race was pretty much over after two corners, with Carlos running into the barriers and then Lando having to take avoiding action, finishing up at the back of the field.

“We boxed Lando onto the hard tyres at the end of the first lap, trying to go to the end of the race, which was still a sensible choice given the long life of that compound. Lando gave it his all, but without another Safety Car to mix things up, there wasn’t really anything he could do.”