McLaren upgrades under Mercedes scrutiny as MCL60 ‘rocketship’ launched – F1 news round-up

Jamie Woodhouse
Mercedes' Toto Wolff at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Mercedes' Toto Wolff at the British Grand Prix. Silverstone, July 2023.

Qualifying day for the 2023 British Grand Prix is in the books, where McLaren delivered a “wake-up call” to the Mercedes squad.

Mercedes will have felt they already had enough of a challenge on their hands in the form of customer team Aston Martin, but now another user of their power unit appears to have entered the chat thanks to an extremely effective upgrade, one likened to the Red Bull RB19 style by Lewis Hamilton.

Additional reporting from Thomas Maher and Sam Cooper

That team is McLaren, but this was far from the only big-hitting topic to emerge at Silverstone, so let us dive into the action…

Lewis Hamilton makes Red Bull connection to McLaren upgrades

It was Oscar Piastri who came up with the “rocketship” term for that upgraded McLaren MCL60 as he got a first taste for it at Silverstone, driving it to P3 on the British GP grid while team-mate Lando Norris shares the front row with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Hamilton cast his verdict on the upgrade work from his former team, claiming that the MCL60 is now looking “very, very similar down the side” to the Red Bull RB19, and Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was given the chance to give his take on that new-look McLaren.

And it is a further gravitation towards the Red Bull philosophy which Mercedes cannot ignore.

“I think each of us had bodyworks that were perfectly good in the tunnel and it didn’t come out in performance,” Wolff told media including

“So you’ve got to leave no stone unturned and maybe look at it again, because another team just found a second in performance.”

Read more: Toto Wolff responds as Lewis Hamilton makes Red Bull-esque McLaren observation

Is Sergio Perez nearing the end at Red Bull?

It is now five races in a row where Sergio Perez has failed to make Q3 in the Red Bull RB19 which is the dominant force of Formula 1, this time failing to even make it out of the opening Q1 segment.

Another recovery mission awaits then for Perez, but F1 pundit Alice Powell has now been left wondering whether we are approaching the end of Perez’s time as a Red Bull driver.

“He just doesn’t seem to perform when it really matters and [going] up against Max as a team-mate is so tough regardless,” she told Channel 4. “Maybe it’s heading towards the end for Perez.”

Read more: ‘Sergio Perez is nearing the end at Red Bull after latest qualifying disaster’

Charles Leclerc wants answers from Carlos Sainz after Ferrari team orders snub

Once again Charles Leclerc and Ferrari found themselves with trouble in the camp, this time as a result of Leclerc taking issue with Sainz’s apparent snub of team orders.

It was just last weekend when Sainz said Ferrari had made him look like a “fool” when he went along with their requests to play the team game.

“Carlos decided to overtake, which is not ideal and we will discuss about it,” Leclerc told media including

Read more: Charles Leclerc wants answers as Carlos Sainz snubs Ferrari team orders

F1 Twitter stewards fail in attempt to cost Max Verstappen pole

Following the Q3 session where Verstappen claimed pole for the British Grand Prix, fans on social media were lapping up a clip from Q1 which appeared to show Verstappen overtaking George Russell when yellow flags were being shown.

Verstappen certainly was not very concerned when the apparent incident was brought to his attention, and is it turned out, he had every reason to be confident.

Read more: F1 Twitter stewards fail in attempt to strip British GP pole away from Max Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas disqualified from British Grand Prix qualifying

It has not really been a season to write home about so far for Valtteri Bottas and Alfa Romeo, and it is safe to say their luck is yet to turn as F1 2023 continues at Silverstone.

For any car not able to provide the mandatory fuel sample for the stewards to test after a session, the standard punishment is expulsion from the standings.

Take a wild guess then what happened to Bottas when there was not that necessary one litre available in the Alfa Romeo C43.

Read more: Fuel sample breach leaves driver disqualified from British Grand Prix qualifying

Read next: Lando Norris has Silverstone crowd in hysterics after Max Verstappen ‘ruins everything’