McLaren’s James Key: “Getting into Q3 is likely to be extremely tight”

by Paul Hensby

James Key insists the McLaren F1 Team will continue to work hard to move forwards this weekend at the Circuit de Monaco after an eventful practice day at the track on Thursday for both Carlos Sainz Jr. and Lando Norris.

Sainz missed the majority of the morning session at the principality thanks to an engine issue but was able to return to the track for a full session in the afternoon in which he set the thirteenth fastest time.

Norris meanwhile was experiencing Monaco in a Formula 1 car for the very first time, and the young Briton finished fifteenth and twelfth across the two ninety-minute sessions, with his afternoon session affected by damage to the floor caused by one of Monaco’s many kerbs.

Key, the recently-appointed Technical Director at McLaren, admits getting into the top ten shootout during Qualifying on Saturday is likely to be difficult, with so many teams involved in an ultra-tight midfield battle, with tenths or even hundredths of a second likely to determine whether drivers like Sainz or Norris make it through or not.

“It’s been an eventful day, as expected, here at Monaco,” said Key on Thursday.  “We tried some new parts on both cars. Unfortunately for Carlos he had a powertrain related issue in FP1 which restricted his running. It was Lando’s first time here in an F1 car and he settled in very well.

“Good work between the sessions saw us achieve a better balance with both cars in FP2. Lando suffered some stoppage time due to a bit of damage from kerbing. Getting into Q3 is likely to be extremely tight, a matter of tenths or even hundredths.

“We’ll continue to work our way forwards.”

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