Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Istanbul Park, 2020

McLaren alert to Ferrari threat in fight for third place

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Ferrari’s strong performance in the Turkish Grand Prix could propel them into the fight for third place in the constructors championship, says McLaren’s Andreas Seidl.

Renault, McLaren and Racing Point arrived at Istanbul covered by just one point in the contest for third place in the championship. But Ferrari’s best result of the season so far in the race has raised the prospect of a four-way fight for third.

Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc added 27 points to Ferrari’s total, leaving them six shy of Renault. The pair finished ahead of both McLarens, Carlos Sainz Jnr taking fifth with Lando Norris three places behind. McLaren now lie fourth in the standings, five points behind Racing Point, with 24 points covering all four teams.

“It was obviously great for us to score this result because it kept us in the fight in the constructors championship which is good,” said Seidl. “But we definitely do not have the third or fourth quickest car at the moment in this battle.

“And with what we have seen also from Ferrari, one more good result and suddenly the fight is between four teams for this third, fourth, fifth and sixth.”

Seidl said he isn’t “worried or concerned” about the possible threat from Ferrari, “I’m just realistic.”

“I know what a team like Ferrari with all the resources they have can do and it’s not a surprise that they are coming back during the season,” he said. “We never underestimated the power that Ferrari has. They have two great drivers, also, and obviously a great team. So that’s the reality we’re in.

“It’s simply important to focus on ourselves, to see that we extract the maximum from what we can do with everything we have. We have a competitive car which is a great step forward compared to last year.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

After 14 races McLaren have 149 points, 76 more than at the same stage last season. Seidl said this “shows again that we made a great step forward with the team.”

“But at the same time we have very strong competitors and we just hope we can keep this battle alive until the last race,” he added.

He said the team were encouraged by the performance they showed at some stages during Sunday’s race, though he admitted they may not have maximised their potential points haul through their strategy.

“If you just look at the race, obviously it feels a bit of maybe even a missed opportunity because with the pace we had in the car and being so close to the Ferraris in the end, maybe if we would have pushed more as a team together with Carlos, maybe it would have been possible to score even more points.

“But at the same time, it was a tricky decision to make because it was also very much in terms of tyre life. So you can also quickly end up with zero points. Overall I think it was a well-managed by the team together with the drivers and happy with the outcome.

“What was impressive was simply that the pace we could show, especially on the intermediate tyres, the car was somehow switched on. As soon as you had a bit of free air, Carlos had it or Lando especially, then it was a actually a very surprising, competitive pace.”

The fight for third place

PositionTeamPointGap
3rdRacing Point154
4thMcLaren149-5
5thRenault136-18
6thFerrari130-24

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 Turkish Grand Prix

Browse all 2020 Turkish Grand Prix articles

Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

20 comments on “McLaren alert to Ferrari threat in fight for third place”

  1. I think Racing Point will take 3rd. They have been unlucky with retirements and substitutions but are still in 3rd. The point and shoot tracks of Bahrain and Abu Dhabi where traction and top speed will be important will be good for the Merc powered cars.

    On 4th, 5th, 6th, I think Mclaren should still take it by virtue of having the better drivers as Ocon and Vettel have misfired a lot this season. Mclaren have a threat from behind only if either of those 2 drivers suddenly show some consistency.

    I think 5th vs 6th would be fascinating. Leclerc is on a good roll and able to work the Ferrari in various different tracks. Renault on the other hand haven’t been able to make the car work on all tracks with Ricciardo finishing 3rd, 9th, 3rd, 10th in the last 4 races.

    Perhaps Ferrari can spring a surprise here and overtake Renault for 5th. Would be a good way to close the season given that couple of races ago it seemed like Alpha Tauri would overtake them and they would end up 7th

    1. I do agree that unless they face more incidents and mishaps, the overall speed advantage of the RP should get them fixed in this 3rd position. On the other hand, RP were fast in the first few races where McLaren hugely overperformed in the results too, which shows how they might still lose that position.

      The battle is very intense that is good to see. With Ferrari, if they have found a way with their car – I wouldn’t conclude that necissarily, they have been quite up and down based on what track / conditions we have, and could well be far behind Alpha Tauri again in the coming races. And I’d say that the Red Bull junior team can really make this battle even more interesting.

      Renault are probably a bit faster than McLaren, but it seems they also have a bit more tricky car to get working right than McLaren. And yeah, while Ricciardo is pretty much bringing the goods all the time, as Leclerc is, the Woking team does have the advantage of 2 drivers who are in a solid groove this year, although both have also had their share of issues to deal with, while Ferrari and Renault cannot really rely on two of their drivers to help much in the midfield battle.

      Overall, the best news is that it is really close between three, four or even 5 teams at most races.

    2. I think looking at Monza and Spa, RP will fall back in the next 3 races. They’re all power-driven circuits and McLaren and Renault both dominated Monza and Spa respectively. I think Renault will be the fastest in all bar the outer Bahrain circuit but McLaren has enough of a gap over Renault to secure P3 in the WCC in my opinion. I think RP will drop back and it’d be interesting if Renault can bridge the gap over RP for P4 or not. As much as I’d like to see RP fall behind Ferrari I do suspect they’ll be pretty weak in the upcoming circuits and will have their work cut out on keeping AT behind them.

  2. I feel like Renault’s pretty much out of the battle due to the quite considerable points loss against RP and Mclaren in the last race. Overhauling a gap of 18 points in three races will be hard under normal conditions on pure pace without any DNFs or other problems for the two ahead given how limited the points opportunities are in the midfield.

    1. I guess it depends a bit on the next few races @jerejj. Another podium or a few 4th places for Daniel could bring them back in. And a lot depends on whether AT can get back into it and take a lot of points out of that midfield battle. We’ve also seen RP having surprisingly bad weekends which might bring the 3rd place battle back into play.

      But it is well possible that we’ll see McLaren left with an outside shot at 3rd, while Renault will have to fight with Ferrari and AT for 5-6th.

      1. @bascb Yes, but a third-place or few 4th places alone wouldn’t be enough should RP and Mclaren finish on the following positions and only Daniel bring points for Renault. The remaining three races are going to be dry for a 99% certainty and have a low likelihood of race neutralization, so not going to be as achievable as with wet weather or changing conditions. Time will tell, though.

    2. The real challenge Renault has is with Ocon.
      He still makes very silly race decisions on positioning his car when in contention for position like at the start of the last race.and also isn’t yet up to Ricciardo’s pace

  3. Mercedes must be loving this; 4 teams who have to concentrate on developing their 2020 cars in a battle for 3rd while Mercedes can down tools on the 2020 car and work on the 2021 and 2022 car.

    I’ll be enjoying the battle and I’m expecting RP and Renault to be the better of the 4 teams for the remaining races, assuming the tracks have grip.

    1. Cannot work on 2022 car yet, it’s in the rules. Very few changes possible for next year so does not matter much, all the teams are already working on 2021 and not as much work to do as normal due to limited changes. Probably best to finish 6th as far more windtunnel time then allowed on the 2022 car.

    2. @Mooa42 Next year’s car is the same as this since the decision to postpone the rule changes and carry on for 2021 with the 2020 cars, so to be precise, a 2020 car with some modifications to the floor area. Nevertheless, the work is for this car concerning next year, not this anymore.

      1. There’s actually quite a lot of difference. At first it was thought as a simple solution but then when design starts it turns out a whole lot more. Especially for the high rake cars, losing that much of the floor has a big effect in sealing the air under the car or not in this case.

        Could spell problems for RedBull who have said still focusing on this year’s car. Where as McLaren have already started to change from a high to low philosophy ready for the Merc engine next year and to avoid using tokens over the winter. Is why they’ve dropped off a bit since mid season and why thrill probably got them ground running next year.

  4. Incredible pace there at the end. Fastest lap by over a second is something even though they lucked in getting the inters working.

  5. Let’s be honest here, the only reason they were up there was because the engine played less of a role in the conditions and the drivers could show their skill. Once we get to the outer loop at Bahrain I fully expect them to be nowhere, just like Monza.

    1. @john-h Outer Bahrain is likely to be rough for Ferrari for sure, but standard Bahrain and Abu Dhabi are more traditional modern tracks and Ferrari (Leclerc at least) has been fairly competitive across most circuits recently. I think they’re still in the hunt but unlikely to jump all the way up to 3rd.

      Honestly I just can’t get over how great this year’s championship is if we ignore Mercedes and Verstappen – a 4 way constructor’s championship battle for 3rd, and up to 7 different drivers battling it out for 4th place in the Drivers’ championship albeit it’s looking like that is now between Perez, Leclerc and Ricciardo).

      1. Yes, true, it’s a shame we have to settle for minor battles like this instead of for the lead.

  6. Ferrari has no chance, their abu dhabi pace is awful and bahrain is a power circuit. I think it is going to 3nd like it is.

  7. You should check my N2M2F1 posts, I’m tracking just that

    1. sorry, misplaced, it was @keithedin above

  8. McLaren will at least finish ahead of Ferrari because Ferrari weren’t noobs in Turkey, but generally still are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.
If the person you're replying to is a registered user you can notify them of your reply using '@username'.