Lando Norris thanked his team for making big changes on his MCL35 ahead of Qualifying for the British Grand Prix on Saturday that enabled him to qualify an excellent fifth for his home race.
The McLaren F1 Team racer excelled in the conditions at Silverstone, getting through to the top ten shootout for the fourth time in four 2020 races, although he admitted he made mistakes during the session, particularly in Q1 where he needed a couple of shots at it before he made it through to Q2.
Once he found his confidence once more, he was able to push on into Q3, where he achieved his best lap of the weekend when it mattered to place fifth, just ahead of BWT Racing Point Formula One Team’s Lance Stroll.
“First of all, the team did a great job getting the car ready for quali because we had to make some big changes so we didn’t quite get out on time – but we got out, so thanks to the team for their hard work,” said Norris.
“It was a messy qualifying: I made mistakes on a couple of my runs, especially the first one. I went off the track, compromised myself and lost a bit of confidence throughout the first half of qualifying, which wasn’t ideal.
“I was trying to play catch-up and get in a good rhythm and I didn’t really do that until the final session. On the old tyres I matched what I did on the new tyres before, so I felt a bit more confident going onto the new set that had more grip, and I could push that little bit more.
“It’s a great result, especially here at my home race. Tomorrow’s the important day where we have to convert it into a good result.”
“I’m happier with the car and we’re in a good position for tomorrow” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. joined Norris inside the top ten, again continuing the trend of seeing both McLaren drivers inside the top ten in Qualifying, with the Spaniard set to start seventh on Sunday.
Sainz feels there was more pace to find from his point of view as he and his team continue to understand the updates brought to the MCL35 for Silverstone, but he was happy with seventh, and he feels he can score some good points from there.
“It was a very strong day for the team,” said Sainz. “For me in particular I’ve had a better feeling with the car as the weekend has gone by, so we made some progress on the balance and the set-up.
“In general, I would say there’s still some work to do, but I’m happier with the car and we’re in a good position for tomorrow. My last lap in Q3 wasn’t exactly as I wanted though. I lost some time in the exits and with traction coming onto the long straights but, still, P7 and a good starting position for the race.”
“Starting the race tomorrow in P5 and P7 is an excellent return” – Andreas Seidl
Andreas Seidl, the Team Principal of the Woking-based outfit, was pleased to see their unbroken run of Q3 appearances in 2020 continue at Silverstone, with the German praising the team and drivers for their hard work in making it happen.
McLaren brought updates to Silverstone in a bid to bring themselves closer to the front of the field, and they were within touching distance of Max Verstappen’s Aston Martin Red Bull Racing machine and Charles Leclerc’s Scuderia Ferrari when Qualifying concluded at the British circuit.
“This is our fourth qualifying session of 2020 and we’ve got both cars into Q3 on all four occasions,” stated Seidl. “Well done to the team here at the track and back home for making that possible, and also to the drivers who pulled out the laps when it mattered most.
“FP1 and FP2 were challenging, but the team worked hard overnight to improve the car which helped us maximise the performance of the new components we brought to the track on Friday. Both drivers were a lot happier with the balance in FP3, which gave us a lot of confidence going into qualifying.
“We had some extra work to do on the cars after P3 and both car crews did a great job to finish just in time. With the yellow flags, red flags, blustery wind and traffic management, there were a lot of variables in play this afternoon, but the team focused, worked hard and got through the challenges.
“Starting the race tomorrow in P5 and P7 is an excellent return and puts us in a position to fight for good points. We now need to switch our focus to preparing for the race tomorrow.”