Formula 1

Disappointing race for McLaren in Russian GP following strong qualifying

3 Mins read
Credit: McLaren Media Centre

McLaren F1 Team‘s Russian Grand Prix weekend came to a disappointing end after neither driver was able to score any points, both having started the race from within the top ten.

Carlos Sainz Jr. started in sixth place, but crashed out on the first lap, while his team-mate, Lando Norris, finished fifteenth after starting in eighth position.

Sainz Jr. said that it was difficult to find grip on his side of the grid, meaning he did not get as good a start as he could have done, adding that it was a simply a case of misjudging his speed that caused the incident.

“First of all, apologies to the entire team. It was tricky to get a good start on the dirty side and by Turn Two we were surrounded by other cars. I went too deep and left the track, so I decided to run over the sausage kerb and go around the bollards to avoid the penalty. It was a quick decision, the angle was very tight and I simply misjudged my speed.”

He said he was more disappointed that he was not able to secure a result for the team, but is now turning his attention to the next race at the Nürburgring.

“It was a pretty heavy impact but I’m fine, just disappointed for the team. Watching the replay of the start, other cars also left the track at Turn Two but kept going and didn’t get the penalty, so I might as well have done the same. But anyway, it is what it is. We will reset and go again in Germany.”

“It was an extremely tough race” – Norris

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Norris also struggled in the race, although he was happy with his start. He found himself caught up in the action at the second corner, but was forced to back out so he was not involved in a collision.

“It was an extremely tough race. My start was alright – nothing spectacular, but not bad. It was difficult on the right-hand side of the grid. I had a decent run down to Turn Two, but some guys just committed a lot more and I ended up having to back out. Anyone that committed just ran off the track and it was tricky to avoid them.

“Then there was the incident ahead that involved Carlos that I had to avoid. I think it damaged some bits on the car and made it a lot trickier to finish the race.”

He said things were also more a challenge as he had been running the hard compound tyre for the majority of the race distance, switching from the soft on the opening lap, during the Safety Car period resulting from Sainz Jr.’s crash. He also recognises they need to make improvements, which he hopes they will be able to do in the next race.

“We weren’t far away, but on a Hard tyre, which we boxed for at the end of lap one, I just missed out a little bit. We need to improve for next time – it was very tricky to drive the car in the race on this track. We’ll try again in Germany.”

“It’s a very disappointing Sunday” – Seidl

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

Team principal Andreas Seidl expressed his disappointment with the result, but recognised they did as best they could given the situation.

“It’s a very disappointing Sunday afternoon for us, coming away from Russia with zero points. Our race was pretty much over after two corners, with Carlos running into the barriers and then Lando having to take avoiding action, finishing up at the back of the field.

“We boxed Lando onto the Hard tyres at the end of the first lap, trying to go to the end of the race, which was still a sensible choice given the long life of that compound. Lando gave it his all, but without another Safety Car to mix things up, there wasn’t really anything he could do.”

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F1 reporter for The Checkered Flag. Also a second year Journalism student at Robert Gordon University. Feel free to follow me on Twitter at @findlaygrant5.
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