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F1 | Sao Paulo GP | After qualifying in the top 10 Norris and Ricciardo are ready for the fight with Ferrari in the Sprint Race

Both Mclaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo expressed happiness and confidence with their car after their team successfully made drastic improvements from FP1 to qualifying in the top 10 for the sprint race.

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F1 | Sao Paulo GP | After qualifying in the top 10 Norris and Ricciardo are ready for the fight with Ferrari in the Sprint Race
Fuente imagen: McLaren

FP1 and qualifying for the Sprint race have been completed in Sao Paulo and both McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are feeling happy with their top 10 results. It's also worth noting that the McLaren team was one of the F1 teams who were faced with a major setback when their freight shipments were stalled en route to Brazil due to bad weather. The team, specifically the mechanics, worked long hours into the night to get everything ready in time for the first practice session. Therefore the FP1 session proved to be a challenging one for the team and drivers at McLaren.

Norris ended the practice in 15th place while Ricciardo was 19th.  However, the McLaren drivers were able to make a substantial improvement and a strong comeback in qualifying. Norris was 8th fastest and Ricciardo was right behind his teammate in 9th.

After the McLaren team executed significant improvements from their FP1 session to their qualifying session,  both Norris and Ricciardo expressed happiness and optimism for the sprint race ahead. Norris kept things in perspective and accepted his eighth-place spot for the sprint race stating that he feels confident in the car despite trailing behind Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc. 

"I think we have to be happy with qualifying because we were struggling quite a bit this morning in FP1. After making some good improvements coming into quali, I felt a lot more confident with the car,” said Norris.

“We would've loved to have been ahead of the Ferraris, but we have to take P8 and P9 today because they were quicker. We're in a good position to fight them tomorrow." 

McLaren teammate Ricciardo shared the Brit’s sentiment acknowledging the significant improvements from FP1 to qualifying while also pointing out the teams’ lack of pace compared to that of the Scuderia cars.    

"It's only an eighth and ninth but from where we were this morning we can be happy with that. We didn't run the Soft earlier, but I felt like we didn't have a whole lot of pace to show either. It felt better on the Soft and to get both cars in Q3 is not a bad afternoon,” stated Ricciardo.

"I know it's towards the tail-end of the top ten, but the deficit is a lot smaller than we thought. We've still got to get them on track but we're there, we're in the fight, and we can put some pressure on them now. “

“We'll look to move up from here but the step we made from this morning to this evening was pretty good."

Given the unfortunate circumstances that the McLaren team endured from the late freight shipment, the team was able to beat the odds against them in FP1 and set solid results down for qualifying. Andrea Stella, Executive Director of Racing at McLaren, praised the team for their exceptional hard work. Stella also reiterated how maintaining the consistency of the team's hard work will be a key factor to carry over through FP2 and the qualifying Sprint race.  

"At the end of the first day of this sprint event in Brazil, we're relatively satisfied. We're in the game, that's the important thing. I'd like to acknowledge the good work done by the engineers here trackside, with the support of the factory, working together with the drivers, to stitch together the data from FP1 and improve the car before qualifying,” said Stella.

“Additionally, the mechanics in the garage did a good job late last night in difficult circumstances to get the cars ready to perform. We now have to carry on that work in FP2, have a good sprint qualifying, and progress towards scoring good points on Sunday."

As it stands, McLaren is trailing behind Ferrari in the constructors' championship by 13 and a half points. With just four races left on the 2021 schedule, the Sprint race for the Sao Paulo GP will be crucial for setting the McLaren team up to secure as many points as possible on race day when it counts the most.


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