McLaren’s F1 team boss Andreas Seidl is disappointed that his team did not score points with both cars after a disastrous first lap for Carlos Sainz, but is pleased that they increased points lead over Renault in the constructors’ standings with seventh place for Lando Norris.
McLaren and Renault are fighting for fourth place in the constructors’ championship using the same Renault power units E-Tech 19 and although after Hungary McLaren had huge 43 points advantage, after races in Belgium and Italy their advantage has melted to 18 points.
Renault was faster on the fast tracks in Belgium and Italy, taking 22 points in Monza thanks to fourth and fifth places for Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, but McLaren was faster in Singapore, as was in Hungary.
Norris set the best time of the weekend for McLaren (1:37.572) in the Q2 while Ricciardo set the best time for Renault in the Q3, which was 0.523 seconds slower.
Although Hulkenberg hit Sainz in the first round compromised their races, Norris finished seventh and scored six points for McLaren while Renault scored two points for ninth place for Hulkenberg who managed to recover after a poor start.
“What a race! It’s very good to come away from Singapore with more points than our competitors in the Constructors’ Championship,” said Seidl.
“Unfortunately, Carlos’ race was pretty much over after a couple of corners but he battled back really well.”
“Great drive from Lando to bring the car home in the best possible position we could achieve today. He coped well with immense pressure in the final laps, when the Safety Cars put guys with better tyres directly behind him.”
“It’s tough in this heat but the entire team in the garage and on the pit-wall did a great job. We also had good support from the factory with updates that gave us strong pace all weekend. It makes us very optimistic for the races ahead.”
Norris – ‘I did the best I could’
After being McLaren’s fastest driver in qualifying, four tenths ahead of Sainz in Q2, the young Briton drove a poor Q3 and placed tenth which became ninth after Ricciardo’s disqualification.
He profited from the Sainz – Hulkenberg incident in the race and retained seventh place despite the pressure from drivers with newer and softer tyres in the final stages of the race.
“A good race in the end with decent points, and I don’t think there was a lot more I could’ve done,” said Norris.
“We did the best we could at the start but I was just getting held up by everyone ahead, which is part of the race because everyone is trying to save tyres. There were Safety Cars, sometimes helping but other times hindering, as it allowed Hülkenberg and Gasly to come behind me on the softer tyre – a much fresher tyre as well – and I was under quite a bit of pressure towards the last few laps.”
“I was having to push, which was fun, because for the rest of the race we were just driving around so slowly. It was a shame about Carlos getting hit by Hülkenberg at the beginning, because I think we could both have been in the points today. Massive thanks to the team and everyone back at the factory for their hard work.”
BATTLE FOR FOURTH