The performances of Joel Eriksson and Lando Norris towards the end of the Qualifying Race around the streets of Macau on Saturday can be attributed to having lower downforce levels compared to their main rivals, according to both drivers.
Eriksson was leading for his Motopark with VEB squad having started from pole position, but found himself caught and passed by Callum Ilott on the seventh of the ten lap race, and fell almost eight seconds behind the SJM Theodore Racing by Prema driver in the final three laps, and the Swede put it down to his downforce levels.
“I think it was only me and Lando who had low downforce, and both him and me were struggling a bit,” said Eriksson to Motorsport.com.
“My start was really good so I was quite relaxed in the lead, but directly I could feel the rears were going to go away too quick and I was just having to manage them.
“Also there was something on the mechanical side that was not in the right direction, so second is good in those circumstances. We have some work to do for tomorrow.”
Norris lost ground at the start due to a clutch issue but had fought his way back from ninth to run fifth, only for the tyres to give up on him as well, meaning he fell back to seventh by the chequered flag, and he agreed with Eriksson that the downforce levels contributed to his lack of pace in the closing stages.
“It was just tyres,” said Norris. “The pace was good in the beginning – probably too good – and then it dropped off massively from the middle to the end.
“I think it was the low downforce – it affected me more than we anticipated.
“Callum was on medium downforce and you could see from his move on Joel that he could go round the last two corners so much better that it [the deficit on straight-line speed] didn’t really matter.
“We’ve got to go through the data and move more towards that [set-up].”