Lando Norris hopes to carry the momentum from last weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix into this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, with the Briton eager for another top ten result at the Sochi Autodrom.
Norris drove a strong race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit to finish seventh last Sunday, the best of the rest behind the leading three teams, with some good defensive driving in the final few laps denying drivers with fresher and softer tyres from overtaking him.
The McLaren F1 Team racer has experience of the Sochi Autodrom, having competed in the FIA Formula 2 championship with Carlin as well as first practice with his current employers in 2018, and he hopes to hit the ground running this weekend as he aims to move up from his current twelfth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
“We had a pretty good race last weekend in Singapore and now I’m looking to carry that momentum forward to the next race,” said Norris. “We know that the midfield battle is tight and that making the most of unexpected opportunities is key to staying ahead of the competition.
“I’m excited to be heading back to Sochi, having driven there in FP1 and F2 last year. I’ll be able to hit the ground running and start finding performance right from FP1.”
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. has not had the best of luck in the three races since the summer break, with retirements in Belgium and Italy being followed by a first lap incident with Nico Hülkenberg in Singapore that left him with a puncture and at the back of the field for the majority of the evening.
Never-the-less, the Spaniard remains confident he can find the form he showed ahead of the break and in Russia he will be giving it his all to return to the points.
“The three first races after the summer break have not gone our way but I’m fully confident we can turn this around,” said Sainz. “The car is performing well and the whole team is focused.
“There is no reason why we shouldn’t keep pushing forward and luckily the next grand prix is just around the corner. The Sochi circuit is an interesting challenge with plenty of slow-speed 90-degree corners, similar to Singapore, but there are also more unique corners like the long left-hander from Turn Three to Five.
“I’m ready to give it my all once again.”
Team Principal Andreas Seidl says they are looking to take the positives they had in Singapore into this weekend’s race in Russia. He feels the performance at Marina Bay showed that the upgrades brought to the car in recent races have been working, and it is clear to them that they should be aiming for a double points finish this weekend.
“Following an exciting race in Singapore, we head to Sochi looking to take the positives from the weekend into the Russian Grand Prix,” said Seidl. “We showed good race and quali pace in Singapore, proving that the upgrades we’ve brought throughout the season have done their job.
“Heading straight to Russia from Singapore poses a significant operational challenge, however the whole team is focused on the task at hand and performing to the best of our ability this weekend. We head to Russia with our objectives clear.”
Seidl says that while McLaren are aiming to confirm themselves as the fourth best team of 2019, they have already began focusing on developing the 2020 car. He insists they will be doing everything they can to balance upgrading this year’s car whilst also making progress on next years.
“It’s now up to us to ensure we carry that performance into the final races of the season,” added Seidl. “We are committed to pushing as hard as we can to maintain our position in the midfield, however our long-term goal is to keep pushing forward into 2020.
“So now our task is to balance these two objectives and maintain perspective of the bigger picture.”