McLaren Way Off The Pace At Le Castellet

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, in the pitlane

It was a disappointing opening day of the FORMULA 1 EMIRATES GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 2021 for McLaren, as the papaya-team were way off the pace at a circuit they had expected to perform strongly at.

The team had to settle for a P10 for Lando Norris and a P14 for Daniel Ricciardo, and have a lot of work to do ahead of qualifying on Saturday.

Lando Norris Looking For More

After a tricky first day in France, Lando Norris is hopeful both he and the team can find more performance in qualifying.

“Tough first day, tricky conditions playing the biggest part. The temperature made it difficult to keep the tyres in a good window. So, driving the car became a bit of a challenge especially with the wind.

“I think we’ve got a few bits we can definitely improve upon, but we still have quite a bit of work to do. It’s very close with the rest of the field so every little bit is going to help – but it’s also going to make qualifying tough going into tomorrow. Hopefully we can find a little bit extra to make our lives a little bit easier.”

Lando Norris
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, in the pitlane

Daniel Ricciardo Ready To Chip Away

After finishing in P6 in the opening session, Daniel Ricciardo found himself falling off the pace in FP2, and ended up finishing in P14. Despite the drop-off, Ricciardo isn’t too worried, and feels as if he can move up on Saturday.

“First day done, it was quite a warm one! The morning was pretty promising. We had a good start to first practice, but then in second practice, competitively, we didn’t seem as good. I’m not really sure why right now, but we’ll look into it. It didn’t feel too bad and it’s all very close. We’re probably only missing a few tenths right now. That said, I’m not too concerned, we’ll work at it tonight. Generally, the feeling isn’t too bad, so we’ll just chip away and find a bit more pace for tomorrow.”

Focus On Tyres And Aerodynamics

After back to back street circuit races, Andrea Stella had the team work on tyres and aerodynamics on their first day back at a purpose-built circuit.

“After racing on two street circuits, we’re back on a permanent track this week. That removes one set of challenges, but also adds some different ones.

“Today, we focused on tyre work, set-up and testing aerodynamic parts. The sessions went well, and we’ve plenty of data to study overnight. The field looks very tight at Paul Ricard this weekend and we’ll work hard this evening to ensure we maximise our opportunities for qualifying and the race,” said Stella.

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