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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

McLaren “stunned” by China F1 race tempo after dash struggles

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McLaren’s Lando Norris began on pole for Saturday morning’s 19-lap dash race however after going off at first he fell all the way down to seventh. That turned sixth on the chequered flag because of Fernando Alonso’s retirement, ending in entrance of team-mate Oscar Piastri however behind each Ferraris.

Its race tempo relative to the Scuderia appeared according to the Woking group’s muted expectations for the weekend, however that image utterly modified on Sunday when Norris cut up the Pink Bulls to complete second, whereas Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc failed to complete within the top-five.

Norris mentioned there was “nothing pointing” to the group’s better-than-expected competitiveness on Sunday, however group boss Stella recommended the cooler situations offered a doable clarification.

“In equity, within the dash, we did not see that we had race tempo that may have allowed us to complete forward of Ferrari. It was in line one way or the other with what we anticipated earlier than coming right here,” Stella mentioned.

“So it is a bit of a shock, particularly by way of race tempo. We all know that we’re robust when now we have new delicate rubber, we will do a very good job for a single lap, however after we put laps one after the opposite, we are likely to lose some efficiency.

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“However I believe one way or the other the monitor situations and the chilly situations, the truth that there was no sunshine, helped preserve the rear tyres beneath management. And subsequently we may use the strengths of the automotive, like we noticed in qualifying.

“The rear axle particularly was not overheating. Whereas if we have a look at the dash, I believe we had a little bit of overheating and Ferrari appeared to be extra snug.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL38

Picture by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Piastri completed eighth after sustaining injury within the security automotive collision between Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll, with Ricciardo’s RB tagging his diffuser that Stella says value him as much as fourth-tenths per lap.

“It was an enormous loss,” Stella defined. “Oscar had injury on the diffuser, he misplaced a major quantity of rear downforce, equal to four-tenths of a second, one thing like that.

“After we heard the numbers, I wasn’t very optimistic that we may have held positions like Oscar has been in a position to do.

“His result’s much less noticeable than Lando’s, however I believe he did a very good job in attempting to know learn how to drive the automotive when he misplaced a lot rear downforce. The automotive was very oversteery.

“He managed to make some diversifications and preserve [Lewis] Hamilton behind, in order that’s additionally a powerful consequence.”

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