Sunday July 14th had so many unbelievable sporting moments. At Wimbledon there was an unprecedented tie break to decide the Championship and at Lord’s there was a Super Over to crown the Kings of cricket in the World Cup. Meanwhile, on two converted runways known to many petrol heads as Silverstone, the race of the season was played out and McLaren showed everyone why their resurgence is very much believable and only getting stronger.
‘Believe in McLaren’ has been the tagline for many years and was an unspoken declaration by the team that they knew they were struggling but they were confident that they could turn their fortune around.
On Sunday, irrespective of the result had by Lando Norris, the team in papaya made a statement to the motor racing community – not to mention the rival owners of their engine supplier Renault. The team is together; the mission is clear and their extremely talent drivers are staying put in Woking.
McLaren have been through several transitional years but they have always had a loyal fan base and yesterday the Becketts Grandstand was a sea of papaya – no wonder McLaren used twitter to indicate their thanks specifically:
‘Special thanks to all of the McLaren employees and fans who came to Silverstone this weekend.”
Carlos Sainz, a driver who at times has found himself in the shadow of his rookie teammate this season also took to Twitter on Sunday to share his joy at finishing in 6th place.
‘Today we seized the most of each opportunity, first overtaking two cars at the start, managing the tyres and finally holding on to that P6 against the Renault in the closing stages. Thanks team! Let’s keep pushing!
Formula 1 is a team sport and fine margins can cost a lot. Unfortunately, on Sunday, the fine margin of timing cost Lando Norris a chance at a good haul of points on his Silverstone debut at the pinnacle at the sport and he had to settle for 11th having started in 8th.
Norris drew cheers from the sell-out Silverstone crowd due to his intense wheel to wheel battle with Daniel Ricciardo in the opening stages and there was a realistic chance of 8th, 7th or even 6th with the pace and race craft the 19-year-old showed as well as track positioning. However, to the dismay of may British fans, the Safety Car required to clear Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa Romeo was deployed at the wrong time as Norris himself was well aware.
“It was just that. As a team I don’t think we had the strongest car today compared to some of the other midfield teams which is a bit frustrating. It made life a little more difficult for Carlos and myself. The strategy is where we lost it today, but that’s more of a hindsight thing rather than just making a blatantly obvious wrong call…. We tried something and it didn’t work out today.”
Obviously, Norris is disconsolate with the outcome but the fact that McLaren is making bold moves on strategy should be very worrying to Renault who now trail the Woking based manufacturer by 21 points.
In cricket, partnerships are key and Renault is in need of Nico Hulkenberg to start delivering because at the moment it is Ricciardo versus McLaren – although that has been a joy to watch and is no bad thing.
So, what does McLaren’s turnaround show the world of F1? Quite simply, it is that form is temporary but class is permanent.
ROKiT Williams Racing should take great comfort in that and have some hope of returning to success? After all, on Sunday they did finish ahead of a Ferrari…technically. So how long until ‘Believe in Williams?’
We shall take it one race at a time – and just hope they are all like Sunday’s Grand Prix was…or may that would just be too unbelievable.