McLaren’s Carlos Sainz says the team can’t jump to conclusions off the back of their strong result in Baku as they head into the start of the European season in the Spaniard’s home nation.

McLaren scored a double points finish a fortnight ago around the streets of Baku and currently lead the tight midfield battle in the constructors’ championship.

However, the competition is expected to intensify from this weekend when teams bring their first set of upgrades to the all-rounder circuit.

Carlos Sainz

“It was great to get some good points on the board in Baku,” Sainz said. “We knew the pace was there and it was a matter of being patient and working hard.

“We cannot let ourselves get carried away by a good result in Baku, so we’ll keep pushing hard.

“I’m so excited for my home race. It’s always such a special occasion, and I can’t wait to see all the fans in the Circuit – especially those in my grandstand, I’m looking forward to seeing it in full papaya!

The Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona is a well-known venue by all the teams. The 4.655-kilometre layout has already hosted eight days of pre-season testing earlier in the year.

Sainz’s teammate and rookie Lando Norris says he’s ready to start the European leg, as he returns to familiar tracks he has contested during his time in Formula 2 last year and other junior categories.

McLaren’s high-tech hospitality unit for European events in 2019.

“It only feels like yesterday that we were in Spain for pre-season testing,” the 19-year old added.

“Heading back to where we first tested the car should give us a good indication of the car’s performance and the areas we need to improve.

“I’m looking forward to starting the European season; there are a few circuits coming up that I’ve raced at before, including Barcelona.

“Racing at tracks I know helps me hit the ground running when preparing for the weekend.”

Practice 1 starts at 900 GMT today before Practice 2 at 1300 GMT.

Images via McLaren

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Luke McCullough

Melbourne Based - 17 Grand Prix attendances and counting in Australia, Singapore, Canada, France, Austria and Great Britain.