(Motorsport-Total.com) – McLaren was reasonably satisfied with ranks six and eight in qualifying in Sochi (Formula 1 2020 live in the ticker). The team got both cars in Q3 and beat some of their main competitors. However, in the opinion of the pilots, things could have gone a little further – especially after the impressions of the third training session.
Carlos Sainz set the third fastest time there, which was no longer possible for him in qualifying. He primarily blames the changed conditions for this. “When I drove out, I noticed that the car is no longer the same,” says the Spaniard. Because clouds had come up and the wind had increased.
Especially in turns 2 and 5, there was suddenly a lot of tailwind – a weak point of the McLaren. “We knew we would have a few more problems there,” said Sainz. “We had to fight and lower our expectations a bit.”
Sainz quarrels: “If the conditions had stayed the same …”
Because after FT3 one had expected to have the field behind Mercedes under control. “But we knew that Racing Point and Renault still had a bit more up their sleeves than we did,” he added. “It definitely looks like Renault and Racing Point have taken a step in the right direction in the past races.”
In Q3, Sainz reported a good lap, but he had to admit defeat to Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo. “I think: If the conditions had been like in FT3, we could have landed in front of them, but the car was no longer the same,” said the Spaniard.
Team-mate Lando Norris was struggling with other problems. The Briton had the new nose, but also lost by three tenths of a second. “It was neat. Not perfect,” he analyzes. “One position could have been better. My laps weren’t as clean as I had hoped.”
Norris: A new set of tires is missing in Q3
Another disadvantage for him was that he had one new set of tires less than the competition in Q3. Because he had to use an additional sentence in Q1, he missed it at the end. “But that’s the way it is sometimes,” says Norris.
He doesn’t want to overestimate the new nose: “It’s not like a big upgrade, it’s just a little different,” said the Briton. “It’s part of a bigger upgrade and doesn’t do much until the next parts come.” Team-mate Sainz would still have liked to have had the component: “It’s not my decision, it’s that of the team,” he says.
“Of course we want to improve the car as much as we can, but with such a tight calendar the parts don’t just come at the same time,” he explains. “We always take turns which driver gets what. It’s Lando’s turn with the new nose and the new front wing, of course I have to accept that.”
Seidl: “We are happy”
For team boss Andreas Seidl, the result has to be right in the end, and that’s what it has been in Sochi so far: “Yes, we’re happy because the cars were back in Q3 after we had difficulties in Mugello,” he says. “We expected a very close battle with Renault and Racing Point. We saw that too.”
“It’s good that we put both cars into Q3 and of course that’s a good starting position for tomorrow to fight for points again,” continued Seidl. For the race, however, the two drivers do not necessarily think they have a good chance of moving forward: “I think the Renaults are definitely a little faster than us,” says Norris.
“Daniel was faster than us all weekend. I expect them to be quick. Their race pace was very fast. The same goes for Perez, who is fast all year round. I think we can keep people behind us, but it won’t be easy to get much further forward. “