It was overall an extremely positive weekend for McLaren as the British team scored its first podium of the campaign in Imola and achieved a double points finish in yesterday's sprint race. However, an incident Daniel Ricciardo was involved in with Sainz on the first lap of the race today meant no points for the Aussie.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl is satisfied by the performance shown by his team in Imola, and commented the race in the post race press conference:
"Obviously very happy for the entire team, being able to score a podium, a well executed race for the team. Great drive from Lando, having it under control at every moment in terms of tyre management and of risk management as well."
"Great pit stops again from the team, it's great to see that we have reached consistency in there as well. Great to see that we have the confirmation now that Melbourne wasn't just a one-off but actually that the MCL36 is a good car and a solid foundation after for further developments in the pipeline."
Seidl recalled the hard 2022 start the Woking-based team suffered from, after missing on a lot of testing time due to shift issues and Ricciardo being ill with Covid.
"It was great to see under all conditons this weekend that we were competitive. In the end that we have been in the end the third fastest team this weekend. Of course scoring a podium in the current situation means that one of the two cars need to have an issue, at the moment from the Red Bulls and the Ferraris, because they are a big step ahead in terms of performance."
"But also at the same time it's not just about performance, it's about putting the racing weekend together as well, which we did this weekend. It's great to see."
However, it wasn't a perfect weekend like the previous McLaren outing in Italy, where it had been a 1-2 finish. Monza 2021 winner Daniel Ricciardo was involved in a racing incident at the beginning of the race.
"On Daniel's side, obviously, it was disappointing for him and for us because he had great pace as well. All weekend he felt quite comfortable in the car as well and unfortunately with the racing incident in the first lap, with the damage the car had on the rear diffuser from the hit he got on the back from one of the Alfa Romeos, there wasn't a lot more he could do in the race."
"We were still trying to do an offset strategy then, going on the hards, because he would have lost anyways but there were no opportunities coming up to do anything else."
As Seidl told MotorLAT, nothing could be done mid race to repair the damage made in that moment, or improve the performance of his car:
"Unfortunately, the diffuser was heavily damaged from the Alfa Romeo running into Daniel when Daniel had to slow down. It was a racing incident and obviously we saw the damage in the data, so it was clear that the rest of his race would be heavily compromised after being at the back of the field already."
"That's why there was nothing we could actually do in this race."
The Australian driver was stopped an additional time at Lap 30 for hards, to try and improve his position, but it wasn't enough. Ricciardo went on to finish the race in P18.
"We had boxed Daniel earlier for mediums, we were the first ones because there was nothing left to lose when you're running at the back of the field with a damaged car. It was a chance to get feedback from Daniel for Lando. Actually, we gained two or three positions with that move."
"We were stuck in a train, so again, nowhere to go and nothing to gain, that's why we went for the next gamble with Daniel early on the hard tyres because at that time of the race it wasn't clear if he could run through until the end with those tyres or not."
All in all, it's still the first podium of the season and a good points haul for McLaren, and the team's general feeling is positive, especially for the future.
"That's a disappointment but overall, we go away from here with 22 points, we haven't forgotten everything about Bahrain, that's been great motivation for the team to keep working hard in order to close this performance gap further to Red Bull and Ferrari," he summed up in the end.