McLaren drivers on team's growing momentum ahead of British GP
Sainz and Norris encouraged by McLaren progress heading to Silverstone with revival leading them to fourth place in standings
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 09/07/19 6:17am
Carlos Sainz says he has been "pleasantly surprised" by McLaren's form since joining the team at the start of 2019 - and is optimistic they can maintain momentum for Silverstone.
McLaren head into their home race in fourth place in the Constructors' Championship - their best placing at this stage of the year since 2012 - and on the back of consecutive two-car points finishes.
That form has kept McLaren ahead of engine suppliers Renault, Sainz's former team, in the standing and the Spaniard has been impressed by progress.
"I expected McLaren to be better than last year when I joined but to be ahead of teams like Renault who have been there for a while, I must say it's a pleasant surprise," Sainz told Sky Sports F1 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
"Not a big surprise but a pleasant surprise."
McLaren's season moved up a gear in the France-Austria double header with midfield-leading pace, with Sainz and team-mate Lando Norris believing that development parts brought to the MCL34 earlier in the year showed their full worth.
In Austria, Norris qualified and finished sixth, while Sainz overcame a penalty that left him 19th on the grid to come home eighth.
"We are coming from a very strong couple of races. For me, the last one in particular felt great," added Sainz. "It's the home track for the team, one of my favourite tracks in Formula 1, so just going there and enjoying it and trying to keep the momentum up.
"There's been a couple of P6s and a couple of P8s so when we do get into the points we get a lot of points, which is good to see. The car is getting faster every weekend, or as fast as the previous weekend, and that average trend that we is following is what we have to keep."
Norris eager for Silverstone F1 debut
For the first time in two years, Lewis Hamilton is not the sole British representative at Silverstone with McLaren's Norris and Williams' George Russell tripling the home contingent this weekend.
For Norris, the first nine races of his grand prix career could barely have been more impressive.
"I didn't really know what to expect coming into Formula 1 this season, so to have two sixths and a few other points finishes is pretty awesome," said the 19-year-old to Sky F1.
The English teenager suspects the nature of Silverstone's fast sweeps may not entirely suit McLaren's package, although remains optimistic for Sunday's race in particular.
"A lot of the high-speed now is flat-out so when they are flat out so maybe that's not our strongest point. But hopefully when it comes to the race we can have as good pace as we had in Austria," added Norris.
F1 2019 heads to Silverstone this weekend for the big event of the motorsport summer. Join Sky Sports F1 for extensive coverage across nine live shows from Thursday to Sunday, when the race starts at 2.10pm.Find out more here to watch all the season live.