Lando Norris reveals why much-improved McLaren still have ‘pretty terrible’ car

Henry Valantine
Max Verstappen speaking with Lando Norris after qualifying. Britain July 2023

Max Verstappen speaking with Lando Norris after qualifying. Britain July 2023

Lando Norris took a superb P2 finish at the British Grand Prix, but revealed the McLaren MCL60 is still “pretty terrible” in slower corners.

With Silverstone being one of the fastest tracks of the season, he believes the performance characteristics within the car would have suited his home circuit anyway, but the upgrades made to the car helped make it even quicker over the weekend.

Norris stole the lead from Max Verstappen at the start of the British Grand Prix and led the opening five laps, before holding off the challenge of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages to level his career-best result in Formula 1.

Additional reporting by Sam Cooper

Lando Norris: McLaren still ‘extremely difficult to drive’

A huge overhaul of the MCL60 began at the Austrian Grand Prix as a cluster of new parts were fitted to Norris’ car, and the Briton flew up the pecking order as the team gained an enormous amount of pace at the Red Bull Ring.

Norris looked to dampen expectations and put that down to Austria traditionally counting as one of the team’s best races of the year anyway, but followed it up with more new parts and a front-row start at Silverstone the following weekend.

Mercedes technical director James Allison took his hat off to McLaren for the improvements they made, admitting it’s “unusual” to make such a performance jump mid-season.

But Norris looked to play down some of McLaren’s speed after spraying the podium champagne, putting some of their showing down to how well the car performs in the fast, flowing turns that Silverstone presents – and it’s not the case when the corners are slower.

“It’s definitely not been present in the car all season – Bahrain was quite the opposite,” Norris told media including after the race when asked about how well he was able to get his tyres up to temperature on Sunday.

“These tracks allow us to look after the tyres well. Like I said, we’re very, very competitive in high speed.

“We’re almost on par with what Red Bull could achieve and actually, I would say towards the medium speed like Turn 15 here, Stowe, I would say we’re close to being the best car on the grid.

“Super, super high speed like Turn 9 [Copse], maybe not quite so much, but that was in qualifying and then when we come to the race we definitely maintain our performance when others seem to take a bit of a hit.

“And in doing so we can actually look after the tyres pretty well, especially when there’s no thermal limitation within tyre like there was necessarily today.

“But we do have a poor car – and I say poor, I would say pretty terrible in the slow-speed corners, extremely difficult to drive. recommends

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“I feel if we’re getting excited and I accept that, but we’re going to go to a couple of tracks coming up where I’m sure people are going to be saying ‘what have you done now? Like, how has it got so bad all of a sudden?’

“So, we’ve improved a lot of things: tyre degradation, there’s always little things you try and do with tyre cooling and blah, blah, blah, but nothing big from that side.

“It’s just this track’s allowed us to look after the tyres nicely, keep them in a good condition. Simple as that.

“So a lot of it is track-specific. I don’t want to get too excited, but good things have come from the upgrade but there’s still plenty of things which are miles away from, say, competing in certain places with a Mercedes and as a whole package competing even with a Red Bull, so a lot more work to be done from both of those areas.”

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