After a strong Bahrain Grand Prix, especially on race pace the McLaren F1 Team and Lando Norris had a slightly underwhelming Friday compared to their recent high standards and will be hoping that they can improve going into what will be one of the most important qualifying sessions of the year with overtaking and following very hard.
Norris admitted that it was a tough day, not necessarily anything to do with the team or himself, but the many interruptions that came throughout both sessions – crashes and spins from Charles Leclerc, Esteban Ocon, Sergio Pérez and Nikita Mazepin combined to make a very stop-start day for all the drivers and teams.
“Tricky day, just because it was quite messy – not from our side necessarily, but because of the yellow flags, red flags and things like that. There were also a few problems with radio and things which again weren’t our fault, but made it a hectic session.”
There is still lots to do ahead of the final practice session tomorrow and even though McLaren may not be as confident as they were before the first Grand Prix there can be improvements made tomorrow which should help performance and make the car feel better. The team isn’t in a bad position but there is still a lot of work to do if the British outfit is to retain their third fastest team on the grid status.
“Many things to work on going into tomorrow. I wouldn’t say we’re as confident as we were a couple of weeks ago, but I think we can make some good improvements going into tomorrow to make the car a bit nicer to drive, a bit more comfortable and give myself a bit more confidence as well. I don’t think we’re in a bad position, but we definitely have some work to do.”
“It was a challenging day, but we’ve got a session in the morning tomorrow” – Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo will be hoping to embed himself further into the team this weekend, after being outshone by team-mate Norris at Bahrain. The Australian will be hoping for a less chaotic Saturday morning to allow himself to get in a good rhythm ahead of what will be a crucial qualifying session.
Ricciardo enjoyed being back at Imola which has a reputation for being a real ‘drivers track’ for the second successive year, but it was a difficult day and there is lots of work that needs to be done overnight to make the most out of their package.
“It’s really cool to be back on this track. It’s pretty awesome. The day itself was a bit difficult. We’ve definitely got a few things to work on overnight to get some more out of the car.”
Even though it may not have been the most perfect day there is still another session to figure out the car ahead of qualifying. McLaren will be doing their best to maximise their performance which will hopefully lead to a strong qualifying.
“It was a challenging day, but we’ve got a session in the morning tomorrow to figure it out ahead of quali. We’ll try to address the issues today and put ourselves in a good place for tomorrow.”