Friday, July 19, 2024

Summer Break Review – McLaren F1 Team

McLaren F1 Team’s season has gone from underwhelming to remarkable within a couple of months. In Bahrain, Oscar Piastri retired, while Lando Norris finished last on track. Fast forward to the British Grand Prix, both drivers qualified in the top three, with Norris converting that into a second place finish at his home race.

McLaren’s Best Moment?

What an eventful day it turned out to be at Silverstone, for both McLaren and Zak Brown. Not only did Norris secure a noteworthy second place and Piastri achieve an impressive fourth place, amassing a substantial number of points in the process, but the MCL60 showed genuine pace for the second race in a row, and it felt like a real turning point for McLaren. The upgrades made to the car had proven effective, and the extensive effort invested had finally yielded results, countering the lackluster start to the season.

As well as that, it’s important to acknowledge Piastri’s remarkable Sprint race achievement with a second-place finish in Belgium. The Australian driver has unquestionably earned a moment in the spotlight this year in his rookie season.

Who Came out on Top? Norris or Piastri?

Up until now, Norris has held the advantage over his rookie teammate Piastri in their qualifying head-to-head. Nevertheless, as the season has progressed, Piastri has shown his potential and been close to Norris, sometimes even head of him, which is remarkable considering his absence from racing completely in 2022.

Norris has transformed into the team leader within McLaren, following the departure of senior teammate Daniel Ricciardo. Noteworthy qualifying displays were evident even prior to the implementation of the Austria/Silverstone upgrade package, with his third-place finish in Spain standing as an example. While Norris maintains his superiority over his less seasoned teammate, the disparity between them isn’t as substantial as the stats might indicate. Starting from Silverstone, Piastri has closely trailed Norris, as evidenced by his near-podium performance in Britain, thwarted only by an ill-timed safety car that pushed him to fourth. His second-place finish in the Spa Sprint race showed his capabilities.

Credit: McLaren F1 Team

Norris has sustained his exceptional performances throughout the season. While the second-place results are undoubtedly highlights, his seventh-place achievement at Spa, despite grappling with straight-line speed challenges, was a commendable feat in its own right.

Although Norris has had the beating of his new rookie teammate, the stats don’t tell the full story.

Qualifying head-to-head: Norris 10-2 Piastri

Race head-to-head: Norris 9-3 Piastri

What’s Next for McLaren?

The beginning of the season now resides in the distant past for McLaren, yet they must remain fully focused going into the next half of the season. Their performance during the initial eight races was so underwhelming that surpassing their current fifth-place standing in the constructors’ championship could pose a challenge – they find themselves trailing fourth-placed Ferrari by a substantial 88 points.

However, the crucial aspect is that the battle between the top five teams is so intense. An impressive 83% of their total of 103 points have been accumulated since the implementation of the Austria/Silverstone upgrade. During this period, only Red Bull has managed to amass more points. Anticipated is a significant set of upgrades following the summer break, heightening the potential for further battles to secure podium finishes.

Moreover, the team boasts an ideal pair of drivers, both young, ambitious, and remarkably gifted drivers. As Norris and Piastri continue to evolve at the forefront of Formula 1, their progress will undeniably translate into an advantage for the team as they march forward through the rest of 2023, and then looking ahead to the challenges of 2024.

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