Monday, June 24, 2024

Long Soft Tyre Stint ‘Transformed’ Belgian Grand Prix for Norris and McLaren

Lando Norris felt seventh place in the Belgian Grand Prix was a ‘good result’ for the McLaren F1 Team, particularly after a tough start to the race where he fell down the order to run towards the back of the field.

McLaren opted for a higher downforce set-up on their MCL60 and were not fast down the straights at Spa-Francorchamps, but a long stint on the soft tyre brought Norris back into contention for points, and he ended up in seventh place to bring home an important six points for the team.

Norris believes the strategy call was key to the result, and to run with the soft tyre for twenty-seven laps ensure they were able to score good points amid difficult circumstances.

“A good result,” reflected Norris.  “I think we can be pleased with that after the start of the race being frustrating for us.

“We were just very poor on pace and struggled too much to overtake and defend in the straights. So, we were going backwards and backwards in the opening laps. We tried many things with the strategy and the only thing to work in the end was to put a Soft tyre on and the whole race transformed after that.

“We ended up finishing P7, which was, I think as good as the race could have gone today. Tough for the team, but we scored some good points, and we have to take that going into the break.”

“A disappointing end to the weekend” – Oscar Piastri

Team-mate Oscar Piastri saw his chances of adding another strong result to his Sprint race podium disappear at turn one, with contact with Carlos Sainz Jr. damaging his car and forcing him to retire.

The Australian had led his first laps of his FIA Formula 1 World Championship career and finished second during Saturday’s Sprint race at Spa-Francorchamps but contact with Scuderia Ferrari’s Sainz forced him to stop on track on the opening lap on Sunday.

Despite the disappointment of his first retirement since the season opening Bahrain Grand Prix, Piastri still feels it was a positive weekend in Belgium for both him and McLaren.

“A disappointing end to the weekend,” said Piastri.  “I had my nose in there at Turn One and got a bit caught out with Carlos darting to the inside.

“My nose was in there, I couldn’t get out of that one, so a shame to have my race over so early.

“It’s still been a positive weekend though and all in all, I think we’ve had some good learning on track so we can still be confident for the rest of the year.”

Oscar Piastri was a star on Saturday in Belgium but was out on lap one on Sunday – Credit; Michael Potts / LAT Images, courtesy of Pirelli Motorsport