McLaren 'second strongest force' on merit at Monza - Seidl

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McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl says his team would have likely outpaced all its rivals, save for Mercedes, in an Italian Grand Prix void of exceptional circumstances.

Carlos Sainz finished hot on the heels of surprise winner Pierre Gasly at Monza in a race that was turned on its head by a safety car, a red flag and a stop/go penalty handed to Lewis Hamilton.

But before the crazy succession of events unfolded, Sainz and teammate Lando Norris - who concluded Sudnay's race fourth - held their own for 20 laps behind race leader Hamilton, demonstrating that McLaren's MCL35 was undoubtedly the second fastest car in the field at Monza.

Seidl was pleased his team's performance even though Sainz missed out on an outright win by a mere 0.415s.

"We go away from here with a lot of positives, because in the end today we scored some very important points for the constructors' championship," said the McLaren boss.

"And I think the most important thing from today is that we actually had a very competitive car, and behind the Mercedes I think we can say we have been the second strongest force today, which was great to see. And again, another great confirmation that we made a good step forward with the car in the winter."

But Seidl also praised his troops' flawless strategy and execution at the Temple of Speed and the contribution of the hard working folk back at Woking.

"It's clear to see that we also made big improvements on the team side," he added. "We obviously have again seen today that we have two heroes of the sport in our car, two sensational drivers that did everything right at the start, at the restarts, and put in a sensational performance.

"Great to see also how the race team here under the leadership of Andrea Stella, working together with James Key on the development side in order to keep pushing and steering the direction of the development.

"The guys back home under the leadership of Piers Thynne, and the production side. They give it all to make sure they deliver the parts as quickly as possible. Very happy, I have to say."

Seidl wasn't all that surprised by the MCL35's speed at Monza, having seen the car's strength in Spa's low downforce environment.

"I think we have seen in Spa already that the low downforce package was competitive," he said.

"But I think with the track here in Monza where you run even lower downforce, plus the combination of the corners here, the characteristics of the corners, I think it was hitting somehow the sweet spot of the car, where we could use a lot of strength that the car has.

"It's encouraging to see that our car seems to be competitive in all kinds of circuits. We're always able to get into Q3, we're always able to fight with the cars around us, which is good, and gives us a lot of optimism also now going to Mugello and to the races afterwards."

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