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Norris Outqualifies Ferraris Due to Lap Conditions

Norris Outqualifies Ferraris Due to Lap Conditions

12/04/2024

McLaren’s Lando Norris surpasses Ferrari in Japanese qualifiers, leveraging unique lap conditions to offset his team’s car deficits, according to team boss Andrea Stella.

The Woking-based team was expected to perform well at Suzuka due to the fast nature of the circuit which suited the strengths of their MCL38.

While Norris managed to secure third on the grid behind the two Red Bulls, McLaren lost out to Ferrari in the race despite adopting aggressive strategic choices.

Stella emphasized that McLaren made no mistake in aiming for the podium and that finishing behind Ferrari reflected the respective pace of the two cars.

The Italian stated that McLaren’s weakness in low-speed corners was not as noticeable on a fast lap last weekend, but enough to become a liability once tire degradation began in the race.

When asked whether Ferrari underperformed or McLaren overperformed during qualifying in Japan, Stella replied, “I think it’s a bit of both.”

“I think with a new soft tire, we could mitigate some of the deficits we currently have, like low-speed performance. When you have a new rubber, especially a soft one with a lot of grip, you have grip to compensate for some weaknesses, and we could defend from that point of view.”

“We didn’t lose much time in the hairpin or in some other low-speed corners.”

“But today, when you use harder compounds, as I said, every lap, the tire loses a tenth. So, after 10 laps, your tire is a second slower.”

“Then, it exposes the weaknesses of the car a bit more. So, I think that’s why we suffered a bit more in the race than in qualifications.”

Stella admitted that McLaren must strive to outperform Ferrari in the development race as it did with its rivals last season to have a chance of closing the gap with the Italian brand.

Asked about upcoming improvements in Miami allowing McLaren to catch up to Ferrari, Stella highlighted that staying on an upward trend is the most vital thing.

“With the current situation, they might be enough to challenge Ferrari, but I don’t even want to think that Ferrari won’t bring improvements. They certainly will.”

“So, it becomes a race of evolutions. But last year, we managed to outpace our competitors. Like over a season, we gained more lap time than our competitors. So, for us, that remains the goal.”

“And as long as we see that what we plan to bring promisingly actually materializes on track, then we are happy because we know we are on our trajectory, which we believe is a solid trajectory.”

Norris Outqualifies Ferraris Due to Lap Conditions

Norris Outqualifies Ferraris Due to Lap Conditions. Norris Outqualifies Ferraris Due to Lap Conditions

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