Lando Norris, who secured an impressive second place at the British Grand Prix, expressed his concerns about McLaren’s car, describing it as poor and sometimes terrible. McLaren has undergone a remarkable transformation since the beginning of the season, culminating in a fantastic performance at Silverstone, where Norris finished second and his teammate Oscar Piastri took fourth.
Max Verstappen of Red Bull claimed victory in the race, extending his lead in the drivers’ championship over his teammate Sergio Pérez to 99 points. However, the McLarens emerged as the surprise package of the event. Norris managed to overtake Verstappen, who started from pole position, to lead the race at turn one, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Although Verstappen regained the lead on lap five, Norris comfortably held onto second place, outperforming the Mercedes, Aston Martins, and Ferraris. He successfully defended his position against Lewis Hamilton, who praised the McLaren by referring to it as a “rocket ship.” This achievement was significant for the team, especially considering that McLaren had not secured a podium finish at their home Grand Prix since Hamilton‘s departure in 2012.
Shortcomings of the car
Despite the positive outcome, Lando Norris advised caution and openly acknowledged the shortcomings of the car. He described it as poor and particularly challenging to handle in slow-speed corners. Norris anticipated that as the championship progresses, McLaren might face difficulties and receive criticism from observers questioning the sudden decline in performance.
The upcoming race in two weeks’ time will take place at the Hungaroring, a track that predominantly features low- to medium-speed corners, where the McLaren is expected to struggle. Therefore, it is unlikely that they will be able to replicate their success at Silverstone. Nevertheless, the team’s turnaround has been remarkable.
Andrea Stella, the team principal who assumed the role in December of the previous year, recognized the aerodynamic deficiencies and lack of competitiveness of the car before the season commenced. In March, the team underwent a reorganization of their senior technical structure, which included the departure of technical director James Key.
Stella expressed his surprise at the significant progress McLaren made at Silverstone and emphasized that the team remains committed to their plan of competing at the front within two years. He initially expected McLaren to be capable of challenging the four fastest teams by the end of the season. Therefore, finding themselves in their current position came as a pleasant surprise.
The long-term vision for McLaren is to compete for podium finishes next season and aim for victories in the subsequent season.