Lando Norris felt the McLaren F1 Team had a ‘decent day’ at Silverstone on Friday, although the Briton will be hoping to find some more speed ahead of Saturday’s running after failing to breach the top ten in either practice session.
The Briton, a podium finisher in the opening race of the season at the Red Bull Ring last month, ended thirteenth fastest in the morning session and eleventh in the afternoon, although his best time was less than nine-tenths of a second away from the ultimate pace set by Lance Stroll.
Norris missed out on some running in the afternoon due to a technical issue on his MCL35, but the running he did manage across the day helped him get some kind of understanding about the updates brought to Silverstone this weekend.
“We had a decent day in terms of getting through most of the run plan,” said Norris. “FP2 was the only difficulty. A small setback towards the end meant I could only do two or three laps at my high-fuel pace, which is a bit frustrating.
“Apart from that, we worked through the upgrades and some of the changes on the car for this weekend to get a better understanding of what we have. All in all, it was a difficult day with the wind affecting the car a lot.
“It made things tricky – but apart from that it was positive in terms of getting through what we needed to get through.”
“The feeling with the car is not quite there yet” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. appeared to have the better day, finishing twelfth in the morning and sixth in the afternoon, but the Spaniard remains cautious to where McLaren actually are this weekend compared to their rivals.
Sainz feels some drivers’ Qualifying simulations were compromised by the mid-session red flag, caused when Alexander Albon crashed his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing machine at Stowe, so sixth may not be that representative.
“It’s been an intense Friday, testing the new upgrades and having to adapt to the track conditions,” said Sainz. “The wind picked up and the temperature rose quite a lot from FP1 to FP2, meaning the track was trickier for the tyres and made the car more challenging to drive.
“I would say it’s been a positive first day, making improvements from FP1 to FP2, but the feeling with the car is not quite there yet. Our lap-time looks competitive, but some cars were caught out by the red flag, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see where we really are. Looking forward to it!”
“We could see the new parts are working” – Andrea Stella
Andrea Stella, the Racing Director at McLaren, believed it was a good day of running for the team as they learnt about the updates brought to the MCL35 for this weekend.
Stella felt it was positive that the updates appeared to be working, even though the outright pace of the car wasn’t evident. However, he believes that Norris and Sainz will be in with a shout of making Q3 in Qualifying and the points on Sunday.
“We had a busy programme for this Friday, which opens the double-header at Silverstone, with some aerodynamic upgrades to validate,” said Stella. “Happily, the circuit stayed dry and, barring some minor bodywork damage, we didn’t see any major problems and could complete the programme we’d planned.
“We could see the new parts are working, and I want to thank the whole team for the effort that went into designing and manufacturing those parts. It’s a constant effort to improve the car, which is very important because the midfield is clearly very tight.
“The track was tricky today with a blustery wind and, like everyone else, it was tough to extract the maximum out of the car given the conditions. We expect the remainder of the weekend to be a little cooler; we have to be prepared to deal with all conditions and hopefully once again be able to compete for a place in Q3, to give ourselves the best chance of scoring good points on Sunday.”