Monza’s winner Daniel Ricciardo qualified fifth in Sochi, behind an unlucky Lewis Hamilton.
“I’m glad we got to get the session done – who would’ve thought we’d finish on slicks when there was a chance of not even doing qualifying today! It was actually really fun! We enjoyed it,” commented the Australian driver.
McLaren is going through a very positive phase and they’re happy to have kept the momentum going, especially after a one-two finish in Monza. When asked, however, both drivers wished to highlight how the team’s approach to races has not changed now that they are winning.
“Has anything changed? Well, Andreas [Seidl, McLaren’s TP] allowed the use of caffeine,” said humorously Ricciardo.
“But jokes aside, I think our improvements are due to the entire team that is growing in confidence. We’re in a very good spirit, the team was already building more confidence but this process is continuing more and more, especially with the positive results we’re seeing”.
Even Norris confirmed this point of view saying that the team’s approach is no different to last year.
“Success hasn’t changed us”, commented the 21-year-old driver.
“Just because we have won a GP, we are still trying to improve race by race".
“There is always room for improvement, having a good weekend doesn’t mean we stop analysing data and try to get better.”
Ricciardo congratulated Norris on his first pole position:
“I think getting your first pole in these conditions is pretty awesome,” commented the Australian, “and congrats to the team – to keep the momentum of Monza is really cool. So, everyone is really upbeat”.
“Lando has certainly improved and matured a lot over the last months but the most impressive growth has been in his hair, he’s getting very nice curls. I may start to worry,” he concluded smiling.
Lastly, the two drivers commented on their MCL35 performance.
“I think we’re getting closer [to our rivals] for sure,” said Norris, “today was a mix of merit and luck because of weather conditions but in Monza, Daniel won on merit”.
“I think as a team we have improved and we’re getting closer to Mercedes and Red Bull. We’re showing we are improving and have the chance to win on merit not only because of luck or because someone else crashes.”
Norris went on saying that, if Saturday’s afternoon in Sochi had been in normal dry conditions, Mercedes “would have been far ahead”. However, “you can have luck once or twice not forever”, he continued.
“We know we have some strengths and some weaknesses which we are trying to address to take the next step and challenged them all the time”.
Daniel Ricciardo shares the same opinion and added that both Lando and he are “on the same page”.
“We feel the same strength and weaknesses in the car and I think this is good for the engineers because we’re giving the team a clear direction of where to focus.
“I think what we feel in the car is quite similar so this helps the team know where to focus their energy and this is helping for sure”.