McLaren’s Imola troubles began on Saturday

Mark Scott

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McLaren boss, Andreas Seidl, has said not being able to live up to expectations in qualifying at Imola led to a “damage limitation” race at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz, starting P10, and Lando Norris, starting P9, finished in P7 and P8 respectively at Imola to add 10 precious points to the McLaren points tally in the red-hot race for P3 in the Constructors’ Championship.

Seidl said they were expecting the car to be capable of qualifying higher up the grid for Sunday’s race, but when that did not happen it left both McLaren drivers with a tough task on a narrow track which proved difficult to overtake on.

“I think we can be happy to go away with 10 points,” said Seidl via Autosport.

“And having been able to even score more points than Racing Point, and losing only a limited amount of points to Renault.

“It was damage limitation on a weekend where we couldn’t compete with them in terms of performance.

“We simply couldn’t extract the performance we expected in qualifying from the car, it was difficult for the drivers to get the laps in.

“And that in the end resulted in P9 and P10, which then was causing the compromises for the race, simply being stuck and not being able to use the pace the car might have had in the racing in free air for example.

McLaren Andreas Seidl and Zak Brown

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He continued: “We’ve seen with Carlos that on a track like this, if you’re stuck behind a car, and I think we had maybe slightly more pace, we simply couldn’t do anything.

“That’s why I think in the end, we still need to be happy with the outcome that we could score 10 points.

“I think the team and both drivers in terms of race execution did a great job, very good pit stops and the right calls on the strategy side. So obviously, we benefited from the incidents, which kept us in the fight for this P3.”

With just four races remaining, a solitary point separates Renault (135), McLaren (134) and Racing Point (134).

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