Motor racing-McLaren will be happy with fourth this year, says team boss Seidl

Formula One F1- Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - December 3, 2021 McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo during practice REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri

(Reuters) - Formula One team McLaren will be satisfied with fourth in the overall team standings, but they will be giving it everything to seize back an unlikely third from old rivals Ferrari, team boss Andreas Seidl said on Friday.

The Woking-based team head into this weekend's inaugural race in Saudi Arabia 39.5 points behind the Italian glamour team, who only need to outscore the former champions by five points to seal third.

The race in Jeddah is the penultimate round of the season before the finale in Abu Dhabi next week.

"We will give it still all the next two races in order to score as many points as possible and see if there is something happening," Seidl told reporters via video conference from Saudi Arabia on Friday.

"At the same time, I think if we score fourth this year, I'm happy to be honest.

"Ferrari are simply coming back strong which was to be expected from a team like Ferrari.

"I think we maximised our points in the first half of the season due to some issues also on the Ferrari side, on the operations side, and we lost more than 30 points (in the last three races)."

McLaren ended last season third behind Mercedes and Red Bull in the constructors' standings -- their best finish to a year since 2012.

The team looked on course to repeat that result this season after taking a stunning one-two finish at Ferrari's home race in Italy.

But they have lost ground in the six races since, with the Maranello-based Ferrari team winless but staging its own comeback from an uncharacteristically off-form season in 2020.

The last three races have been particularly bruising with McLaren, having dropped back to fourth in Mexico, scoring just four points to Ferrari's 47.

Seidl, however, said McLaren can take heart from their performances this season.

Daniel Ricciardo's win ahead of team mate Lando Norris in Italy was the team's first since 2012 and their first one-two result since 2010.

Norris very nearly followed that up with a second victory in Russia before a tyre gamble in changing conditions went wrong and dropped him from first to seventh.

"These are the steps I want to see and I have to see within the team," said Seidl. "Because it just confirms that the plan we have put in place is going in the right direction."

(Reporting by Abhishek Takle; Editing by Rohith Nair)

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