Dutch GP: McLaren left nothing on the table at Zandvoort

Dutch GP: McLaren left nothing on the table at Zandvoort

McLaren are already looking ahead to Monza, after a disappointing weekend at the Dutch GP saw the team walk away with just one championship point.

The successful running of the Dutch GP after 36 years off the calendar has seen McLaren walk away with a single point.

The team struggled throughout much of the weekend to extract the full performance from the MCL35M. With a lack of pace affecting the team during qualifying and the race.

However, McLaren’s lack of performance was somewhat expected heading into Zandvoort. While the MCL35M is a general all round good car, it does on occasion struggle at circuits that involve far more twists and turns, rather than straights.

Starting from P10 and P13 on the grid, Lando Norris managed to score the team’s only point. Thanks to teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who would go on to finish P11, after letting Norris past in the latter stages of the race.

“That was a lot of hard work for one point,” McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said. “It was the race we were expecting, given our starting positions and the way we’ve been struggling for pace this weekend.

“We gave it our best and didn’t leave anything on the table, with the drivers and their crews working very well together to see if we could extract more. In the end, we had to accept there wasn’t anything else available. Thanks to Daniel for playing the team game today to try to maximise our points, but unfortunately it didn’t pay off this time.”

Scoring just one point in the race has seen Norris drop down to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, behind Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Norris did manage to pick up the pace slightly once he cleared Ricciardo, however was unable to catch either of the Alpine’s. The 21-year-old also had another on track tussle with the Red Bull of Sergio Perez. But despite the contact between the two cars, Perez managed to stick it round the outside to take P9.

“A bit of a mixed result today. Disappointing because it’s P10, but good because I didn’t think we could’ve done a lot more from thirteenth,” Norris said. “It’s such a difficult track to overtake on, but we had good pace, we had a good strategy and I think we have to be happy with one point.

“I think that’s the best we could’ve done today. Maybe if we’d started in a better position and did a better job yesterday, we could’ve achieved a little bit more – so we need to look at how we can learn from it. Still, I’m satisfied, and we’ll use it to make sure we bounce back and are much stronger in Monza.”

Both the McLaren’s had a fairly vanilla race. Other than Norris’ brief battle with Perez, Ricciardo had a few early position changes. Otherwise, he was left on his own for the majority of his time out on track.

“Difficult race. Coming up to the line, I went to pull the clutch and it wasn’t working, so my preferred clutch paddle had an issue,” said Ricciardo. “I did the start with my other hand and that was a big part of losing a position to Russell off the line. But we recovered well and I got back past Russell and Giovinazzi. We actually gained a position on lap one when I thought we were going to lose a few, so that was great. We were then just stuck behind the Alpines. They were saving the tyres and I was just trying to stay with them. Once they opened it up, I didn’t have their pace.

“We put the hard tyre on and were trying to get into a bit of a rhythm. We also tried to execute a team strategy to maximise points, which cost me some race time. It was hard to get going after that and I think ultimately the pace wasn’t that good. We did struggle a bit, for different reasons, in the first and second stint. We were P10 at one point today, but it was hard to see how we could’ve been much higher than that. I’d have obviously loved to score points, but we’ll analyse it and learn from it.”

Ferrari have also now passed McLaren in the constructors’ standings. Retaking third place to lead by 11.5 points, after both Scuderia drivers finished inside the points.

Heading to Monza will provide McLaren with the opportunity to regain some of those lost points. The MCL35M should be at home at the “Temple of Speed”, with those long straights at the circuit allowing Norris and Ricciardo to get the best possible performance out of the car.