Despite qualifying for the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone in tenth position, Lando Norris was relatively pleased with the performance and pace on Saturday afternoon, particularly as the gusting wind compromised the pace of his MCL35.
The McLaren F1 Team racer says the pace of the Renault DP World F1 Team, BWT Racing Point Formula One Team and Alexander Albon in the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing team meant it was always going to be tough to get much higher up the grid than he ultimately achieved.
Norris says he expected to be around tenth with the wind gusting as it was, with the Briton feeling that he is in a good starting position for Sunday’s race.
“Not a bad qualifying, to be honest,” said Norris. “P10 maybe doesn’t sound great in terms of position, but I think this weekend we’re realistically a bit more in-position and we knew this wind wouldn’t play in our favour.
“I think the Renaults, with Daniel, were considerably quicker, showing that their car is very competitive, and both Racing Points are doing a good job of extracting performance – Albon too. I think we’re where we expected to be, so I’m not really disappointed.
“I don’t think there was much more in the car. There was a little, I think mainly because of the wind changing in the second run or into Q3, as I struggled a bit more with the car than in Q2. It wasn’t easy – the car’s not hooked up. It’s trickier to drive this weekend because of the wind conditions, but still not a bad position to be in for tomorrow.”
Cooling Issues Compromises Sainz after Q2 Elimination
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. was far from happy with his own result as he was eliminated at the end of Q2 for the first time this season. The Spaniard initially qualified thirteenth but will move up to twelfth on the grid after Esteban Ocon was penalised for impeding George Russell.
Sainz revealed that he has been suffering with cooling issues on board his MCL35 this weekend, something that has not affected Norris, and as a result he was suffering with additional drag down the straights, which made it far more difficult to follow his team-mate into the top ten shootout.
“Obviously not very happy with today,” said Sainz. “Seeing our rivals make a step forward into this weekend puts us in a trickier position when trying to get into Q3. We committed to a plan of going through with a Medium and unfortunately, we didn’t manage to make the cut.
“We have a bit of a problem in my car this weekend and we had to change the bodywork before quali to help with the cooling.
“A less tight bodywork here in Silverstone costs us some lap-time due to the increased drag, so yeah, a bit frustrated by that, but at the same time I still think we can fight tomorrow and we’ll definitely do our best to get back into the points.”
“There are still opportunities to move forward in the race” – Andreas Seidl
Despite seeing McLaren’s record of getting both cars through to Q3 in 2020 end on Saturday, Team Principal Andreas Seidl says there are plenty of opportunities for the team to move forward on Sunday and score good points.
Seidl agreed with his drivers that they were expecting a fight just to get into the top ten shootout due to the gusting winds and so it proved to be as Sainz was eliminated. However, come race day, with proper preparation, he can see both Norris and Sainz moving forward into the points-paying positions.
“It’s the first time this year we’ve not had both cars in Q3,” stated Seidl. “We knew that in today’s conditions we would struggle with pace and, in addition to this, some of our competitors either made a step forward this weekend or were able to use the full potential of their cars today. With such a tight midfield, it’s not a surprise to be fighting for Q3.
“There are still opportunities to move forward in the race tomorrow. We’re expecting very high ambient temperatures and strong, gusting winds. Together with the softer tyres being used this weekend, we expect an interesting grand prix. We will prepare as best as we can and try to make up some positions in the race.”