McLaren’s James Key: “The margins were tight in all three sessions but both drivers had the pace to make the top 10”

McLaren F1 Team Executive Technical Director James Key said that the team’s precise approach to car set-up allowed them to make up crucial time in a Qualifying of tight margins, with Lando Norris taking seventh place and Daniel Ricciardo taking tenth at the session’s end. 

“It was a case of looking for marginal gains in FP3, after some good work on set-up and balance during Friday, together with further steps overnight, we took an approach of fine tuning and working out best approach to qualifying. 

Key was pleased with the pace the team found in qualifying as well as their long runs during Friday practice, and hopes to see this performance continue on race day, where they will look to battle for hotly-contested positions in the points.

“It was good to get both cars through to Q3, the margins were tight in all three sessions but both drivers had the pace to make the top 10.

“The long run pace looked reasonable yesterday, so we look forward to making good use of that tomorrow in the final race of the season.”

Ricciardo will start thirteenth due to a grid penalty applied after causing a collision with Kevin Magnussen on the first lap of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Key said that Ricciardo will aim for points regardless, with his focus set on making up those positions on race day. 

“Daniel has a three-place grid penalty but he’ll be pushing hard to fight back into the points. It will be an interesting race with the predicted strategy options available so it’s all to play for.”

Credit: McLaren Media Centre