McLaren And Ferrari Closing The Gap To Red Bull

Oscar Piastri, Mclaren Mcl38
Oscar Piastri, Mclaren Mcl38

Wearing a plaster on his nose after a wild party a weekend earlier, and freshly fined 25,000 euros for running across the track after a sprint race crash, Lando Norris on Sunday became Formula 1’s newest race winner.

There’s no doubt the 24-year-old was fortunate with the timing of the safety car, and La Gazzetta dello Sport even thinks the FIA “got it wrong” and broke its own rules for where the safety car entered the pack.

Max Verstappen, however, had no time for a round of ‘what ifs’.

“If my mum had balls, she would be my dad,” he smiled.

Red Bull boss Christian Horner thinks Verstappen also carried damage for hitting a bollard during the race, but the triple world champion wasn’t so sure.

“When I heard what Lando’s lap times were, I knew it was going to be a difficult day,” he said.

Indeed, although Oscar Piastri did not receive the full update in Miami, Norris was equipped with what McLaren CEO Zak Brown described as the ‘B version” of McLaren’s 2024 car.

“We have made a huge step forward,” he claimed.

Verstappen agreed: “The McLaren was incredible today. They had an upgrade that obviously worked. But if a bad day is P2, I take it, right?”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc completed the podium behind Norris and Verstappen, declaring afterwards: “Hopefully we can bring the upgrades very quickly and catch up.”

Team boss Frederic Vasseur confirmed that Ferrari’s upgrade is scheduled for the next race at Imola.

“We’re taking them out of their comfort zone more and more often,” the Ferrari boss said. “And then a safety car is enough for McLaren to win.

“That was different last year, when anything could happen and Red Bull would still win.”

However, Red Bull will also have a car upgrade in the luggage in Imola.

“We have a bit of work to do from our side,” Verstappen admits. “It definitely wasn’t our strongest weekend in terms of race pace, but we’ll analyse it all and try to come back stronger from it.”

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