McLaren is back in Jeddah: ‘We can’t keep up with the other drivers’

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McLaren is back in Jeddah: ‘We can’t keep up with the other drivers’

McLaren experiences another setback during the second race of the season. On the circuit in Jeddah it turned out again that the MCL60 does not perform well enough to fight for world championship points. It is therefore difficult for the two young McLaren drivers to really make something of it, they report to Motorsport-Total.com.

Despite Oscar Piastri’s good starting position, the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix ended in disappointment for McLaren. Piastri was allowed to start from eighth after a good qualifying session, but lost this position early on due to contact with Alpine driver Pierre Gasly. Piastri’s front wing was damaged and had to be replaced.

Teammate Lando Norris also suffered from this incident. The Briton’s car was hit by the debris of Piastri, forcing him to also make a pit stop to get a new nose. It was then difficult for the two drivers to fight their way back up. Piastri eventually finished in fifteenth place and Norris crossed the finish line in seventeenth.

Norris still positive: ‘It’s not as bad as it seems’

So it doesn’t look too good for the British team, but there is generally some deliberate optimism within the team. “It’s not as bad as it seems,” says Norris, quoted by Formel1.de. We’re just not fast. In addition, everyone is so close together this year that you will be penalized more quickly if you don’t have a good run.’

Teammate Piastri also talks optimistically about the race, especially happy that he was able to cover the full distance this time. “The most important thing for me now is to ride a lot and gain experience,” says the Australian. “I’m referring, for example, to the lesson I learned about the tapes.” Piastri got a set of hard tires after his early pit spot that he drove on for the rest of the race, but unfortunately it didn’t help him move forward.

One of the reasons why the tire strategy has not worked in favor of the McLaren drivers is because of the safety car phase of the race. After Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll had to park his car next to the circuit, it was easier for most of the field to enter the pits to change the tyres. Any advantage that McLaren had at the time was therefore gone.

The race went worse than McLaren had hoped

It also became clear once again that the MCL60 is also inferior to the rest in terms of speed. According to Norris, it’s because the wings on the car are bigger compared to the rest. “As a result, we simply suffer too much from drag,” says the Briton. This problem came to the fore in his duel with Williams driver Logan Sargeant, where Norris was unable to get past.

Teammate Piastri did manage to overtake the American driver. The Australian gained DRS advantage on his attack on Sargeant after Norris was ordered to let his teammate past him. ‘In the end it was real teamwork’, says Piastri with satisfaction, but ‘next time hopefully it will happen a bit further away.’

The list of defects in the McLaren car is therefore still long. “The race went worse than we initially hoped,” said Norris matter-of-factly. “I couldn’t keep up with the other drivers.” Yet this is nothing new according to the British driver. “It just confirms what we already know and what we need to improve.”

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