McLaren F1 Team’s Principal Andreas Seidl commended his team’s amazing performance at the 2020 Formula 1 season opener in Austria, this weekend. Lando Norris scored his first career podium with a third-place finish – the highest result the team has received since Carlos Sainz Jr.’s third place at the 2019 Brazillian Grand Prix.
Expecting to resume their position in the midfield, a strong qualifying performance from Norris and Sainz saw them qualify in fifth and eighth respectively. A three-place grid penalty for Lewis Hamilton, saw Norris be promoted to third place on the starting grid.
Before this weekend’s opener, Seidl explained that the team had some doubts following Free Practices 1 and 2, “We had some doubts after Friday’s running, and weren’t sure we would have the pace to fight our competitors. The race was a confirmation that we have a solid base in terms of performance over a grand prix distance as well as for one lap in qualifying.”
During the race, the McLaren boys but on an incredible performance, seeing them battle for position with rivals such as Sergio Perez and Sebastian Vettel. A nail-biting end to the race for the last podium spot, saw Norris post the fastest lap of the race, pipping Hamilton to third place by 0.2s. Hamilton received a five place penalty during the race. Sainz finished the race in fifth place.
“I’m really proud to be part of this team. What an incredible performance from Lando right from lights out and through to the final lap,” said an elated Seidl. “To finish the first race of the new season with P3 and P5 is simply a great reward for all the hard work everyone has put in.”
He continued, “The team at the track worked very hard to get us to this point across a difficult week when we had many new protocols to work with. We had good reliability, the strategists made all the right calls with the Safety Cars, and hats off to Carlos and Lando for what they’ve done after that long break.
Looking ahead to the second of the Austrian doubleheader, when the team returns to the Red Bull Ring this weekend coming for the Styrian Grand Prix, it looks like the Woking-based outfit has found a spring in its step, confident they can continue with a strong performance.
“[Sunday] was very encouraging and a race we can still learn a lot from, giving us confirmation that we are heading in the right direction, with both the development of the car and the way we operate,” added Seidl. “Heads down now. Let’s make sure we don’t get carried away with the good result today and come back strong again next week.”