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Norris admits that the shocking Q1 exit for McLaren has been a ‘reality check’

Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri provide their verdict on the car after an unfortunate Qualifying session.

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After a difficult Qualifying session, Lando Norris speaks out about how the troubles were something the team were ‘expecting’.

Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Norris during Qualifying. Photo credit: Chris Graythen via Getty Images

McLaren has made an impressive comeback in the 2023 season. At the start of the year, the team suffered drastically with a car that was unreliable. Finishing outside the points in five races, the team collected a total of 17 points in the first opening rounds. Rivals, Aston Martin, however, were excelling; earning podiums and getting harder to grasp for McLaren with every weekend.

However, after major upgrades that were brought in for Austria, the Woking team bounced back and became podium regulars. With rookie, Oscar Piastri, joining in and scoring his maiden Sprint Race victory in Qatar. The team caught up to Aston Martin and overtook them in the standings.

The team ended on a high at Brazil two weeks ago with Norris securing yet another podium. The morale was high heading into the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix, however, practice flared up some doubts for the team with the Papaya struggling with pace compared to others.

The worries seemed to continue in Qualifying when both McLarens took a shock exit out of Q1.  Norris ended up getting knocked out by former teammate Daniel Ricciardo by just 0.002 seconds. This sees the Brit start starting from 16th with Piastri behind him in 19th.

What Norris had to say

After the disappointing results for the team, Norris spoke to the media about how he was feeling about the car and admitted that it wasn’t a surprise to him that McLaren would be starting from near the back of the grid.

“The pace of the car was where we are, to be honest. It’s where we’ve been all weekend.

“We’ve been a long way off the pace, but I’d say where we expected to be, honestly.

“It’s been a tough weekend, just the car’s not been performing where we’ve been the last few weeks of course, so I guess that’s disappointing. But at the same time, since our first few laps we knew we were not going to be very quick.

“In a way I’d say – not that I’d say it’s a great thing – but it’s a good thing that it’s kept us… a bit of a reality check, I’d say. I’d rather have that this year than next year, if that makes sense. Not what we wanted but it’s kind of what we were expecting.”

Piastri and his point of view
Oscar Piastri after finishing 19th for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Photo credits: DanIsitene via Getty Images
Oscar Piastri after finishing 19th for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Photo credits: DanIsitene via Getty Images

Piastri on the other hand was a bit more taken aback by the result and believes it lies more with the ‘run plan” compared to the pace of the MCL60:

“If we were I think that probably explains it a lot because, yeah, the first few laps we were in the top five, more or less. I don’t think it was really an issue of pace, just run plan maybe wasn’t what it should have been.

”Well, I’m not going to go to the casino and hopefully all the luck comes up tomorrow! We’ll see what happens.

“There’s a lot of long straights, tight corners. The tyres are very difficult to get in the window so maybe that will catch some people out – we just have to make sure we’re not one of them, but we’ll try our best. I think the pace in the car is reasonable, [it] just didn’t go to plan here.”

With the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix taking place tomorrow, cold temperatures and the unfamiliarity of the track leaves the race up in the air and all to play for. Could McLaren make a strong comeback from the back?

Featured image credits: Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio via Getty Images

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