After a stellar qualifying result of fourth place, McLaren F1 Team’s Lando Norris ended up taking seventh place at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Though he would have wanted to finish higher up the grid, Norris admitted that his McLaren didn’t have the performance to stay ahead of the likes of Red Bull Racing and Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team.
“P7, happy with that. After yesterday, of course we’d all wished for a bit more, but we just didn’t have the pace today with the quicker cars behind. We just did an extremely good job yesterday. I’m happy with it, it’s the maximum we could do today with the cars ahead.
Norris said that seventh place was likely the best possible result for the team this weekend, behind only the leading teams and ahead of their main competition, BWT Alpine F1 Team. The result sees McLaren sit just four points behind Alpine in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
“Tough in places but seventh was the best we could have done for the points today, and we were ahead of our rivals.”
“Unfortunately, there were more lows than highs” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo slid back from his ninth place starting position to finish the Hungarian Grand Prix in fifteenth, as a chain of unfortunate moments saw the Australian driver fall out of the points.
A swift start ended up going awry for Ricciardo, who lost a couple of positions on the first lap that would take him from ninth down to eleventh. He described his first lap as “a mess”, having had to back out of turn one to protect his car and losing another position in the next turn as a result.
“Unfortunately, there were more lows than highs. The launch felt good but then I dropped a bit after that and I was almost middle braking into Turn One. I felt like I was in a decent spot but I remember an Alpine coming up high on the exit of Turn One and I ran out of room, so I had to get out of that, otherwise I was going to lose a wing. I lost momentum through Two and got done around the outside of Turn Two as well. So, it was a bit of a mess on the first lap.”
His tyre strategy ultimately did not play into his favour either, as he went from ageing softs to a productive medium– on which he made a particularly exciting double overtake on both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon— and then finally the hards, which lacked major grip and pace for the drivers that used them.
On the new hard tyres, Ricciardo collided with Lance Stroll while battling into turn two, having struggled with understeer and causing him to go into a spin. He was handed a five second time penalty as a result.
“Then the Soft really fell apart and I didn’t have anything on that tyre. The Medium, it was a little bit better. I was able to make a nice double-move on the Alpines, which was fun. I managed to hold off Stroll for a bit on the Medium and then, when we came out on the Hard, and he came out on a Soft, we simply had no grip.
“I tried to avoid contact but I couldn’t and unfortunately hit [Stroll], spun him around and got a penalty and then that was it. The Hard didn’t work for us, I could just never really get it working.”
After a discouraging last race before the summer break, Ricciardo hopes to return from the few weeks off from racing with “a little more speed” as the season winds down.
“I’m looking forward to the break, of course, and will try to come back with a little more speed in the second half of the year.”