McLaren didn’t get clean run on soft tyre

Jamie Woodhouse


Carlos Sainz said McLaren weren’t able to put a clean stint together on the soft tyres during Friday practice in Abu Dhabi.

Pirelli brought the softest rubber in their range to the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, that being the C5, and during FP1 and FP2 drivers were struggling to get it into the right operating window, so it seems like it will be a difficult tyre to manage in the race if anybody is brave enough.

But Sainz said McLaren still haven’t completed their homework on it having failed to put a clean run together on Friday.

What was clear though to the Spaniard is that nailing a flying lap in qualifying will be crucial with the P6 and P9 positions at the end of FP2 separated by a measly 0.003s.

“It’s been a bit of a better start than last weekend. The car immediately felt more in the window,” he told the McLaren website.

“Unfortunately, every time we put the soft tyre on today we didn’t have the cleanest of laps due to traffic, or we simply didn’t nail the set-up, so still a lot of homework to do regarding that tyre and how can we extract a bit more from it.

“The soft compound is obviously going to be the qualifying tyre and looking at the standings today, with seven drivers in just two tenths, it’s crucial to find some lap-time on that compound.”

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Sainz’s team-mate Lando Norris echoed Sainz’s sentiments, saying that a small slip-up in qualifying could leave McLaren well short of where they hope to be.

“A positive final Friday of the year. We made some good improvements, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do overnight,” he said.

“I think we can be happy with what we did, but we saw how close it was, so if we don’t maximise everything tomorrow we can easily be a long way off where we want to be.

“So, heads down tonight to try to get that little bit more out of the car and we’ll go again tomorrow.”

McLaren head into the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix with P3 in the Constructors’ Championship still in their sights.

Racing Point hold the advantage with a tally of 194, but McLaren are only 10 points behind.

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