McLaren’s race was very strategic, with a battle between Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo throughout the race. The team had to manage their desire to surpass themselves and each other’s requests to accelerate, which frustrated the Briton at the end of the race. But he understands that the two needed to help each other.
“Of course as a driver you just want to be in the best possible position, especially when you have a good chance of overtaking like I had” Norris said. “Daniel didn’t pass me in the middle of the race, he stayed behind me and maybe that saved me a few seconds.”
Norris wanted to pass at the end, explaining that he was playing a position on the finish and not a strategy, but understands that McLaren froze positions: “It’s a discussion we will have, but I’m not unhappy. Daniel helped me and I helped him, we finished in the points and I’m satisfied.”
“It’s not easy to progress”
McLaren’s performance was disappointing in Azerbaijan, despite scoring six points, and Norris will be hoping his team can make progress soon. He knows that the teams are beginning to understand the single-seaters but reminds that the developments should not be underestimated.
“We were eliminated in Q2 yesterday, we don’t want that to happen, Aston Martin was faster than us, Mercedes are far ahead, we were close to Alpine, but it’s difficult. Everyone is making progress, we also, I’m happy with what the team is doing, but we have to continue.”
“Everyone is working hard, but it’s not easy to improve. It’s not just a matter of putting on a new front wing and gaining the two seconds you need. I want to be positive, I am. because the team is doing a great job, but it takes time.”
Finally, he relativizes about the porpoising of the MCL36 in the race: “I’m not complaining, we had porpoising and tailgating, but it’s the trade-off between ride height and performance. I think Mercedes would like to have a stiffer floor and be able to raise the ride height, but we have nothing to complain about.”
Ricciardo “complains” of pilots having constant porpoising
Daniel Ricciardo finished just ahead of his teammate, and he discovered porpoising of an intensity he had never experienced before. The Australian admits that it is a very unpleasant feeling for the drivers and sympathizes with those, like at Mercedes F1, who experience it violently every weekend.
“Before the race, I made an appointment for a massage because I knew we would be a little sore!” laughs Ricciardo. “No I’m adding to it, but I experienced porpoising quite violently for the first time today, and I pity those who have experienced it all season. I can speak badly about it, it’s really very Wrong.
“I got out of the car, and I felt shaken, shaken. I don’t mean dizzy, but it felt like I had taken a few hits. I always wanted to be a fighter! It’s not a good thing, I feel like it’s like when you put a basketball close to the ground and dribble fast, like someone did it on my helmet.”
Logical instructions “at the start and at the end of the race”
As for the instructions, Ricciardo understands why McLaren insisted on not taking any risks. Like Norris, he finds it correct that each of the two pilots helped the other. According to him, reversing the positions at the end of the race would have had no interest, because the Alpine d’Alonso was not possible to overtake.
“We had team instructions at the start of the race to freeze positions, and we had instructions at the end of the race to freeze positions. We returned the favor, we were on different tire strategies, I I had more pace on the hard tires, and he had more pace on the hard tires at the end of the race.”
“The summary is that the hard tires were better! I could see that Lando was in Fernando’s gearbox on the last corner but he couldn’t pass, so we didn’t have enough top speed to overtake. We couldn’t beat them and whether it was Lando or me up front probably didn’t change the result.”
“A better understanding” of the MCL36
McLaren had a difficult weekend, however, with six points but a disappointing qualification. However, Ricciardo seemed to be less behind Norris in pure pace, and he passed the race level with his team-mate. He sees it as the sign of progress he has felt throughout the weekend.
“We have a better understanding, we have taken a step in the right direction. We have unlocked knowledge about the car and what we are trying to do with it. I have the full support of the engineers who are trying to help me , I try to adapt to the car and they try to adapt the car to me. We try to find the sweet spot.”
F1 travels to Montreal next weekend to contest the first Canadian Grand Prix since 2019. Ricciardo is happy to return to the scene of his first victory and hopes that F1 2022 will allow the drivers to have as much fun as before on the Gilles Villeneuve circuit.
“I love this circuit, fingers crossed that we can still attack the curbs with these cars because that’s what makes Canada fun. We get on the curbs, we brush the grass, we get would almost believe on a go-kart circuit.”