Emilia Romagna GP: McLaren have work to do ahead of qualifying

Emilia Romagna GP: McLaren have work to do ahead of qualifying

McLaren have gotten off to a slow start at the Emilia Romagna GP, with Racing Director Andrea Stella saying “It’s pretty clear that there are some areas in which we have to improve before qualifying.”

The Emilia Romagna GP has seen McLaren as somewhat of a sleeper. With the potential of the two cars still hidden from view at the Imola track. The completion of Friday’s practice sessions also saw Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo further down the timesheets than they would have liked.

Hampered with video and radio communications problems during Free Practice 1, Ricciardo managed 10th place, while teammate Norris came in at 13th.  While Free Practice 2 saw Norris improve up to eight, and Ricciardo way down in 18th.

While McLaren managed to avoid any major issues on the track, performance seemed to be lacking compared to their 2020 visit to Imola. Added to the aforementioned communications problems, both sessions also saw red flags which halted running.

“The new format of shorter sessions on Friday means we need to be very efficient to get through the programme and do all of the laps in the plan,” McLaren Racing Director Andrea Stella said. “Today [Friday] we almost achieved that, but missed out because of red flags, yellow flags and VSC interruptions. There were also problems with radio and video comms that affected the entire paddock.

“Despite these issues, it was a productive day. It’s pretty clear that there are some areas in which we have to improve before qualifying. The midfield pack seems to be very tight, and it will be interesting to see how the competitive position evolves. As usual, we’ve got to be at our best to do well in qualifying and put ourselves in a good position to score good points on Sunday.”

Norris: “Many things to work on”

Coming off a strong Round 1 performance at the Bahrain GP, Norris worked his way through Friday’s sessions, steering clear of any on-track carnage. But while Norris came away unscathed, unlike some of his competitors, he shared Stella’s sentiments. Mentioning the need for improvement ahead of qualifying.

“Tricky day, just because it was quite messy – not from our side necessarily, but because of the yellow flags, red flags and things like that,” Norris said. “There were also a few problems with radio and things which again weren’t our fault, but made it a hectic session.

“Many things to work on going into tomorrow [Saturday]. I wouldn’t say we’re as confident as we were a couple of weeks ago, but I think we can make some good improvements going into tomorrow to make the car a bit nicer to drive, a bit more comfortable and give myself a bit more confidence as well. I don’t think we’re in a bad position, but we definitely have some work to do.”


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