McLaren Duo Make Gains In Sprint

In the first-ever F1 Sprint Qualifying Race, both McLaren drivers moved up the order, getting past the Red Bull of Sergio Perez, and go into tomorrow’s ready to battle fourth-place finisher Charles Leclerc, and perhaps even pick up a podium in their home Grand Prix.

Lando Norris Up To Fifth

Lando Norris started sixth and finished fifth, and enjoyed the new format in front of his home fans.

“A good first sprint quali race! I think we achieved everything we could’ve hoped for today. We got ahead of one of the Red Bulls, which is a quicker car, but we managed to beat them off the start and over the first lap, so it was a fun first-half. At the end, it was a quiet finish in clear air on my own. I think we now have a good reading on where we stand compared to the other teams, so we know what we need to try to do tomorrow. I hope the fans enjoyed the new format and it brought something different to the weekend. Let’s hope for the same again tomorrow,” said Norris.

2021 British Grand Prix, Saturday - Daniel Ricciardo leads Lando Norris (image courtesy McLaren)
2021 British Grand Prix, Saturday – Daniel Ricciardo leads Lando Norris (image courtesy McLaren)

Daniel Ricciardo Battles Fernando Alonso

After Fernando Alonso’s fast start, Daniel Ricciardo had a fight on his hands, and the Aussie came out on top, moving up to a sixth-place finish in the sprint.

“That was quite good fun! It’s obviously over pretty quickly, but Alonso having a good start made our race a bit more exciting, so I enjoyed it! The first ten laps were busy, I thought that was cool, so I hope the fans liked it.

“I don’t know what it was like around us, but I hope the order changed up a little bit. I gained a position and start in a better place tomorrow than I started today. That was the aim for today, so I’m looking forward to going out and fighting for more tomorrow,” added Ricciardo.

Learning Curve For McLaren

With the new format giving every team a challenge, it has been a steep learning curve for Technical Director James Key.

“The weekend has been a learning curve with a new format based around sprint qualifying, but we’ve enjoyed the fresh challenges this has brought. Car specification was frozen for yesterday’s qualifying session, with the parc ferme conditions kicking in early this weekend, which left us with higher fuel levels and tyre compound assessment as the main focus for free practice this morning, both in preparation for the sprint quali and tomorrow’s grand prix.

“The sprint race itself went well for us, with a great performance from our drivers, who both regained a position after getting past the fast-starting Alonso, although this stopped us from making any further progress in the time left. However, we are placed fifth and sixth on the grid for the race tomorrow and this gives us a good opportunity for some decent points.

“It’s been an interesting weekend so far, the new format certainly adds new elements and a different approach to what we’ve been used to, being able to push the car for 17 laps flat this afternoon certainly generated a lot of close racing and I think it worked well. It’s great to see so many fans here at Silverstone – always a strong point of this race – and we look forward to seeing the same again tomorrow,” concluded Key.

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