McLaren are looking to keep up their points scoring consistency, as the battle in the Constructors’ Championship heats up at the Belgian GP.
The Belgian GP is the first of three tracks set to kick off the upcoming triple-header. With Formula 1 returning to Spa this weekend after a four week mid-season break.
In what has been a frantic and evolving season, with several calendar changes and back to back race weekends already. The summer break has provided drivers and team personnel with a much needed break.
However, things will be back in full motion at Spa, with several teams currently locked in battle over important championship positions. Mercedes and Red Bull will no doubt duke it out, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen going head to head.
While McLaren and Ferrari are challenging each other for third place, both tied on 163 points. McLaren managed to get an early jump on Ferrari in the constructors’ standings. However, improvement to the Scuderia’s car and solid performances by Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have seen them close the gap significantly.
“We’re currently in an intense battle with our closest rivals in the Constructors’ Championship and we know we’ll need to hit the ground running in Spa to keep up the pressure,” McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said. “The circuit at Spa is a really unique and exciting track and presents an interesting challenge for both our engineers and drivers.
“As we head into another triple-header, the team are going to be working hard to pick up where we left off at the end of the first half of the season, scoring points at all bar one race. The intense schedule is a challenge for the team, but one we’re ready to tackle head-on, both within the trackside team, and the team back at the factory.”
Meanwhile, Lando Norris intends on keeping his standout performance going. As he continues to scrap it out with Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez for third in the Drivers’ Championship. Norris’ 2021 campaign is without doubt his most productive season in F1 to date.
The bulk of McLaren’s points have come from the 21-year-old, who has been instrumental in keeping the team’s ‘best of the rest’ hopes alive.
“The Belgian GP is a special race,” Norris said. “It’s one of my favourite circuits on the calendar with a really flowing and high-speed layout. The Radillon and Eau Rouge sequence is one of the most exciting on the entire calendar, and it’s really cool to take these corners flat out in a modern F1 car.
“We’ve had a great start to the season in the first half of the year, so now the focus is on picking that back up and carrying that through until the end of the season.”
Although Norris has managed to reap the rewards for 2021, with three podium finishes to his name. As well as consistently finishing inside the top five. Teammate Daniel Ricciardo is still waiting to find his feet at Woking.
Inconsistencies have plagued Ricciardo throughout the season. With improvements shown at one track, gone at the next. Balance, braking and setup issues have continued to be an issue for him, as he struggles to get comfortable with the MCL35M.
This weekend’s Belgian GP does mark Ricciardo’s 200th grand prix though. With the Australian aiming to make it a ‘weekend to remember’.
“After a few weeks away from Formula 1, I’m looking forward to going racing again at Spa, which is an awesome circuit,” Ricciardo said. “It’s the perfect track to come back to with its high-speed sections and dramatic elevation changes. I’ve been back to work in the simulator at the factory this week in preparation for the weekend and I’m ready to get back at it.
“This is also a special weekend for me as I prepare to line-up for my 200th Grand Prix. If you’d have told me back at Silverstone in 2011, when I made my debut, that I’d hit 200 Grands Prix, I’d certainly have been very excited about it. It’s really a cool milestone to hit and definitely one that I’m proud of. I’ll be doing everything I can to make it a weekend to remember.”