Lando Norris took the blame for his session-ending crash on Friday afternoon at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, with the Briton hitting the barriers on the exit of Poggiosecco.
The McLaren F1 Team driver feels it is one of the first major mistakes he has made since he arrived in Formula 1 at the beginning of 2019, and it meant he was unable to better fourteenth in the session.
Norris said they had made improvements to the car after the first experience of the Mugello circuit on Friday morning, but it was frustrating that he was unable to make full use of the time available to him to optimise the car ahead of Saturday’s running.
“Tricky day. Obviously, I didn’t end it in the best way – over-pushing it a little bit,” said Norris. “It’s one of the first proper costly mistakes that I’ve made, almost since I started in F1.
“It’s a bit frustrating, but at the same time it happens – it happens to everyone. Not ideal but everything until then was going reasonably well.
“We made some improvements from FP1 to FP2 but we’ve got a lot of work to do. It’s not been as straightforward as we were hoping for, and we’re struggling a little bit more than we were expecting coming into the weekend. Rough start, but I’m confident we can make up for it tomorrow.”
“We’re braced for a challenging weekend” – Carlos Sainz Jr.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., who finished on the podium with his best result of his Formula 1 career last weekend at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, admitted it was a challenging Friday at Mugello, with the Spaniard ending well outside the top ten in both sessions.
Sainz ended fifteenth in the morning session and only thirteenth in the afternoon, and he admits that he is expecting a challenging weekend for McLaren, the complete opposite to how they performed last weekend at Monza.
“It’s been a challenging Friday,” said Sainz. “We haven’t quite managed to get the car in the sweet-spot and we’ve spent the whole day trying things and trying to achieve a better balance.
“At the moment we’re struggling quite a lot with the changes of direction at the rear and being able to lean on it.
“We’re braced for a challenging weekend, but if we manage to achieve a better balance tomorrow morning, our performance can improve considerably. We’re going to work hard tonight and try to get it better.”
“The day wasn’t as smooth as the Fridays we’ve enjoyed on previous weekends” – Andrea Stella
Andrea Stella, the Racing Director at McLaren, says Mugello is a fantastic track and spectacular in a Formula 1 car, but it was a tough opening day of the weekend for the team.
One positive they can take away from Friday was in regards to the performance of the tyres around the demanding circuit, but they have work to do to improve the car so to be competitive in Italy.
“It’s really interesting being back at Mugello with Formula 1 cars again – and in particular with these super-quick cars,” said Stella. “It’s a fantastic track and a truly spectacular venue.
“The day wasn’t as smooth as the Fridays we’ve enjoyed on previous weekends this year because we lost some time with Lando when he went off track and tagged the wall. On a more positive note, I think we’ve developed a good understanding of the tyres in preparation for the race, and we also understand where we have to focus to improve the car. There is some work to do, but we know the areas in which we should concentrate our efforts.”