While McLaren look to bounce back from a disappointing Dutch Grand Prix, Lando Norris says the team deserve to place higher in the points and qualifying at Monza.
It was a tough weekend for Norris, who was unusually knocked out in Q2, starting the race from 13th on the grid.
The 21-year-old seemed to struggle for periods during the course of practice and qualifying. But while it was expected McLaren would have difficulties at Zandvoort, it was unexpected just how much performance the team would lose.
Norris didn’t look comfortable for much of his time out on track. Suffering from a massive lack of pace, and unable to lock in a setup that worked. Only scoring one point has also seen him drop down to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas leapfrogging him.
After one of McLaren’s worst performances in the 2021 Formula 1 season, Ferrari have also moved past the team in the constructors’ standings. With the Scuderia now sitting third, 11.5 points clear.
However, the upcoming Italian Grand Prix at Monza will provide Norris and McLaren the opportunity to score a decent haul of points. Vital for both Norris’ and the team’s position in the standings.
Monza is a track that is far more suited to the characteristics of the MCL35M. With high-speed straights and minimal tight cornering, both Norris and Ricciardo have no reason not to succeed at the circuit.
“Really looking forward to heading to Monza, especially after a tough weekend in Zandvoort,” Norris said. “I’m looking forward to bouncing back and hopefully being where we deserve to be, scoring more points and qualifying a bit higher up the grid. We’ll be working hard to do that.
“It’s another awesome track. We’ve been really spoilt with this triple-header, racing at three tracks that are extremely cool. Monza is a track where we’ve had good results in the past, so hopefully we can have another good weekend.”
After following team orders and sacrificing his position to Norris, this is Ricciardo’s time to show everyone he still has what it takes.
At a track that has almost more straights than corners, there really is no excuse for the Australian not to perform. With minimal downforce put onto the cars, Ricciardo will have plenty of speed for overtakes, or more importantly, for staying ahead of his rivals.
Both cars should qualify well inside the top 10, providing Ricciardo with a better than average opportunity for a points finish.
“Monza is a good race and a fun weekend,” Ricciardo said. “It’s an awesome track to drive and great for racing as well. It often provides some good opportunities. If you’re quicker than the car ahead and you’ve got speed, you can normally overtake, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.
“Italy is always fun, great food and another circuit with an amazing atmosphere. It’s also the second sprint weekend, which will be pretty intense. We’ve got one practice to get into it, and then we’re into quali. It’s definitely a higher-pressure situation for us, so we’ll need to hit the ground running, get up to speed quickly and take away some points. I’m looking forward to it.”
Monza will also see the return of the Sprint Qualifying format. Qualifying for the sprint will take place on Friday, followed by the sprint itself on the Saturday. The results from the sprint will make up the grid lineup for Sundays race.