McLaren and rivals ‘surprised’ by Lando Norris’ pace in second-place finish at British Grand Prix


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Highlights of the British GP at Silverstone as Max Verstappen takes sixth consecutive race win

Highlights of the British GP at Silverstone as Max Verstappen takes sixth consecutive race win

McLaren “surprised” itself with the impressive race pace that helped Lando Norris finish second at the British Grand Prix, team principal Andrea Stella has admitted following a performance at Silverstone.

McLaren suffered a blow on Saturday when Norris and teammate Oscar Piastre took advantage of the team’s highly advanced car to qualify second and third respectively behind world championship leader Max Verstappen.

Although doubts remained as to whether McLaren would be able to maintain that pace over the distance of the race, many expected the Ferrari and Mercedes cars directly behind them on the grid to be faster.

This was quickly refuted as Norris, who held the lead for the opening few laps after beating Verstappen off the line, and Piastri were able to pull away from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in fourth.

Piastre was extremely unlucky to lose third place to Lewis Hamilton as the British was able to get trapped under the safety car, but the rookie finished a career-best fourth, while Norris took an impressive second place, beating the Mercedes.

McLaren boss Jack Brown was thrilled after Lando Norris finished second and Oscar Piastri fourth at the British Grand Prix.

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McLaren boss Jack Brown was thrilled after Lando Norris finished second and Oscar Piastri fourth at the British Grand Prix.

McLaren boss Jack Brown was thrilled after Lando Norris finished second and Oscar Piastri fourth at the British Grand Prix.

“Clearly the signs from the race are quite encouraging,” Stella said.

“We were surprised to be able to hold off our rivals like Ferrari and Mercedes in the first stage, we thought they would be a problem for us in terms of pace.

“So I think we have to admit that the improvement here appears to be real in terms of race pace.”

Stella ‘hopes Russell is right’ about McLaren pace

McLaren brought the first stage of its latest package upgrade to last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix, but only had enough parts for Norris’ car.

The Briton took full advantage to finish fourth at Spielberg, which convinced Mercedes driver George Russell, who finished fifth at Silverstone, that his improvements would be reflected at different circuits.

McLaren's Lando Norris was in a positive mood after finishing second at his home race at Silverstone

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McLaren’s Lando Norris was in a positive mood after finishing second at his home race at Silverstone

McLaren’s Lando Norris was in a positive mood after finishing second at his home race at Silverstone

Russell said, “Those McLarens just came from nowhere, so I really don’t know what to think.”

“I expect it to be a one-off, but they were also quick in Austria, which is a completely different circuit. Regardless, what they’ve done is very impressive.”

Stella, who took up the position of McLaren team principal at the start of the season and has overseen major changes to their leadership structure, remains cautious about his prospects.

“When it comes to whether this improvement will manifest itself in the future, even though George says the tracks are different, in fact I think there are significant elements of similarity between Austria and Silverstone,” he said.

Lando Norris leads the British GP by overtaking Max Verstappen after the opening lap

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Lando Norris leads the British GP by overtaking Max Verstappen after the opening lap

Lando Norris leads the British GP by overtaking Max Verstappen after the opening lap

“Especially, there’s a higher density of corners where we know our car performs well. And in conditions like today, they help, because they don’t overheat the tyres, which is something we look at.” We have some work to do.”

But, smiling, he added: “I hope George is right.”

Piastri, who was still driving with a slightly less updated specification than Norris, also admitted that he feared the McLarens might fall behind during the race.

“So clearly the upgrade is a big step forward,” Piastri said. “I think they are a good step forward on a lap. But the race pace is clearly where we made huge jumps.

McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri face each other in Ashes-inspired cricket match

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McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri face each other in Ashes-inspired cricket match

McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri face each other in Ashes-inspired cricket match

“I think going into the race, I was probably a bit cautious that we might hit a bit of reverse as we’ve done before, but if anything, it was even stronger than Austria, so it was hugely exciting.” .

“Yes, it’s a bit sad to be P4 when we’ve been looking for a podium for so long and a bit unlucky with the safety car timing, but I’m just happy that I’m disappointed with a fourth place instead of the season.” What disappointed us in the beginning.”

Wolff: I was sure we’d eat up the McLarens

The safety car threatened to derail his fine weekend as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton moved up to third, and a questionable McLaren decision to put hard tires on Norris’ car for the final stint saw him face the seven-time world champion. exposed.

However, Norris, on the soft tyres, made an incredible display of defense to hold off Hamilton on the rolling restart, before eventually moving ahead.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were impressed by the McLaren pairing of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastre after the British GP at Silverstone.

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were impressed by the McLaren pairing of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastre after the British GP at Silverstone.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were impressed by the McLaren pairing of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastre after the British GP at Silverstone.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted after the race that he expected his cars to “eat up” the McLarens in the closing stages.

“To be honest, when the safety car was deployed, I wasn’t sure whether we would eat up the McLarens and end up with P2 and P3, or maybe even challenge for the front.

“So you could see how strong their car was. We could have pulled ahead in the first few laps, but they both ran very strong, and with their efficiency and top speed on the high-speed corners and straight lines, there There was just no way to pass them.

“So it was a surprise.”

Hamilton: I didn’t know how strong they were

Hamilton also revealed that he expected it would be “difficult” for Norris to replace him.

“I mean, just knowing what it’s like to be on the hard at the restart behind someone on the soft at the end, I knew it was going to be difficult,” said the Mercedes driver.

“I obviously didn’t do any races with McLaren, so I didn’t know how strong they were in the first race or in the race.

The Silverstone crowd experienced an epic battle as Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton followed the safety car

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The Silverstone crowd experienced an epic battle as Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton followed the safety car

The Silverstone crowd experienced an epic battle as Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton followed the safety car

“So it wasn’t until that moment that I started to see some of his strengths and he got stronger in the laps.

“I threw it in and I tried to overtake, but we pulled a little further down the straight and then went off the pace, as I mentioned, that’s where they were hitting us.”

Verstappen, the only driver able to keep up with the McLarens’ pace at Silverstone, who extended his world championship lead to 99 points, also impressed.

After Norris beat the Dutchman to the line, Verstappen could not overtake the McLaren until DRS was enabled, and even then he failed to advance at the same rate as he had on several occasions this season against other cars. Have done

“Everything was working quite well but it was still quite surprising to see that McLaren was actually that quick, or that Lando was that quick throughout the stint,” Verstappen said.

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