Running their new GULF-style livery, the McLaren F1 Team can be relatively pleased with Qualifying although they would’ve preferred for Daniel Ricciardo to be higher up the grid, especially at a track where overtaking is difficult.
Lando Norris feels fifth position is a great result and being two tenths of pole position and only half a tenth off Max Verstappen shows how close the grid is and how McLaren have improved dramatically over the past few years under the Andrea Seidl – Zak Brown era. Norris feels like he maximised the performance of the car but there is always time to be gained and when the grid is so close, this can be a frustrating thought for the Briton.
“Really good qualifying – I’m very pleased to be P5. We were only two tenths off pole and just half a tenth off P2 – which isn’t a lot – so it was really close. But I feel like I did a good lap and I don’t think there was anything more in it. I’m really happy – although knowing that by doing something different you could’ve maybe gained that half a tenth and quite a few positions is tough, but I’m still pleased with how we did.”
So far Norris feels that it has been a great weekend, maximising everything out of the car. McLaren took a few risks but thankfully these paid of and Norris feels that it was one of the best laps that he has done in his career to date. Now it is crucial that the good work done so far culminates in another good result in the Grand Prix.
“It was a good day. It’s been a good weekend for us, and we extracted everything we could out of the car. On my final Q3 lap especially, we took quite a few risks, but it all paid off and it was definitely one of the best laps I’ve done in my career. We did a good job today as a team and we just need to try to finish it off tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo Left Feeling Confused Rather Than Frustrated
Most of the driver’s who have moved teams this summer have struggled to fully integrate themselves into their teams – perhaps with the exception of Carlos Sainz for the Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow team. Daniel Ricciardo has visibly looked not comfortable in the car yet and Monaco Qualifying was another continuation of this with the Australian not making it into the final qualifying-session.
Ricciardo is more confused than anything else, some of his laps were messy which could explain a few tenths but not to be able to make it into Qualifying-3 at a track where he has previously dominated weekend is extremely disappointing for the 7-time race winner. Another possible explanation for the slower time is being stopped at the weighbridge just before the final run at the end of Qualifying-2 meaning the tyres were not at the ideal temperature window.
“It’s more confusing than frustrating at the moment, that’s the emotion I’m feeling. There were some laps that, for sure, were a bit messy which explained maybe a couple of tenths. Since Thursday we’ve made some progress and this was continuing throughout qualifying with each run. I had to stop at the scales towards the end of Q2, so we didn’t have the tyres as we wanted which put us on the back foot a little bit for the final run.”
Ricciardo tends to feel when he is usually a bit off the pace, but he doesn’t feel like he is or that he has forgotten how to put in a good time at Monaco. Maybe this could be explained by the Australian still needing to get up to speed with the car and the tricky nature of Monaco could possibly amplify this. However, there are things that need to be worked on and the team can improve on so they will be pushing hard for the race tomorrow.
“Usually, you can feel when you’re a bit off the pace, but I haven’t had that, and I don’t feel like I’ve forgotten how to drive this track. I’m still getting up to speed with the driving style needed to get the maximum out of this car, and maybe that’s amplified here in Monaco. But, we know what we need to work on and we’ll keep pushing for the race tomorrow.”