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McLaren Close to Front Trails Behind Ferrari Red Bull

McLaren Close to Front, Trails Behind Ferrari, Red Bull

05/04/2024

McLaren F1’s performance signals promise with Piastri and Norris acknowledging more work ahead to catch up to Ferrari and Red Bull.

Oscar Piastri finished the first day of the Japanese Grand Prix at the top, thanks to good times at the end of a Free Practice 2 session marked by rain. This result doesn’t mean anything specific, yet the McLaren F1 driver easily found the pace.

“We are in decent shape, but it’s hard to say because the timing of the red flag was a bit tricky for us,” Piastri stated. “It’s challenging to pinpoint our position, roughly where we were, but I don’t have much else to say.”

“I believe we have a competitive car; it will be interesting to see if we can replicate the pace we had in Australia. But it feels like everyone has improved performance-wise. We’ll see where we stand, but I think we can be close to the front.”

On the other side of the garage, Lando Norris seemed to struggle a bit more, with a mistake during his only attempt in FP2. In FP1, he was tenth, two places behind Piastri, unsure of the lessons from the day.

“It was alright, better than it seemed, because of the red flag,” Norris assured. “The red flag came out during my best lap, and the tires dropped off in the next one, so I think we’re in a good position.”

“Not necessarily with the fastest teams, but close with Aston and Mercedes, Ferrari, and Red Bull are too far ahead. I think it can be narrowed, but they are as far ahead as they have been since the start of the year.”

McLaren “lacks downforce” and “makes compromises”

McLaren tested different configurations this Friday at Suzuka, but the red flag in FP1 and rain in FP2 prevented a clear view of the potential. Norris explains that the car’s issues are well understood.

“I had different downforce from Oscar; I tried having less, but it was worse. We would have liked more running, but it should be okay tomorrow. The car is good, Ferrari is ahead of us, but the car performs within the window we hoped.”

“We’re working on everything, trying as much as possible, each circuit is different, especially for tires, so there’s always something to try. But we lack downforce and a well-balanced car in slow corners.”

“Once we have that, it will solve our problems. For now, we are making compromises rather than having something solid; it’s tough, but we’re doing what we can. And it’s the same for everything, even when we’re good, we try things, but sometimes it’s better to let things happen.”

McLaren Close to Front Trails Behind Ferrari  Red Bull

McLaren Close to Front, Trails Behind Ferrari, Red Bull. McLaren Close to Front, Trails Behind Ferrari, Red Bull

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