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- Updated: March 3, 2018
Renault driver Carlos Sainz said that he doesn’t see Mercedes’s dominance end this year, especially after seeing their new car in pre-season testing in Barcelona.
Sainz himself finished the first week with the sixth-fastest time. He claimed that the field would once again see Mercedes and its arch-rival from Maranello front-running the field.
“I think there are not many teams besides Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull who can do a quick time with the medium tyre,” said the Spaniard.
“So that’s a positive signal for us.”
He did, however, admit that Lewis Hamilton’s fastest time was “a little scary”.
“But it’s still early and it’s also no secret that Hamilton and Ferrari will be fighting for pole in Australia. It’s no surprise,” he added.
“I think it will be very difficult for teams like McLaren, Renault or even Red Bull to win because Mercedes and Ferrari are at a spectacular level.”
Despite the weather playing spoilt sport for long spells across the week, Renault ran its new R.S.18 without any major issues at the Circuit de Catalunya, and it seemed to convince Sainz that a step forward is on the cards for the French team.
“We do not have a Mercedes or a Ferrari but I think it will be a car for me to take the step forward I’ve wanted,” he said.
Sainz’ personal record still lacks a podium finish, but the 23-year-old isn’t obsessing over the milestone.
“No. People are obsessed with podiums. They seem to want me to have one more than I do!
“You can have a podium and not a good year overall, so what I want is a season of 21 good races. That’s what teams like to see,” he told El Mundo Deportivo.
Among the mid-field rivals on the circuit, Sainz claimed that the toughest to match would be teammate Nico Hulkenberg.
While beating him would definitely be a huge deal, he admitted that it wouldn’t be very easy.
“It will not be easy to be at Nico’s level,” he said.
“Especially in qualifying because he is a very fast driver. But I trust my skills.
“In Brazil and Abu Dhabi I was already within a tenth of him and I’m very proud of that because I had a car that I had not developed and could not have to my liking.”