The McLaren pair were relieved to score points in F1 Australian GP after staying away from dramas to open their account.
Having had a tough start to their F1 2023 campaign, the McLaren pair had something to cheer for in Australian GP when both scored points in a dramatic end. Both Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri stayed away from all the dramas to score crucial points.
Norris ran in the Top 10 for long in the grand which included a fight against Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg. The Brit made a pass on the German to secure track position which was vital in the end after couple of movements ahead of him post-race.
He was looking likely to finish eighth until the crash for Pierre Gasly and penalty to Carlos Sainz. He eventually ended up in sixth which was more than what he imagined. The positive part was that he could race the cars around him.
“For sure, our best weekend so far,” said Norris. “All my comments and my feelings after qualifying, I didn’t have my hopes too high, but actually since Lap 1 the pace compared to some of the cars around us – like the AlphaTauri, like the Haas – was a bit closer.
“I felt a little bit quicker, so I could race against them, I could actually have some fun, attack and have a bit of racing action, so it was a good day. P6, some reasonable points for us, same for Oscar to have him in the points at the same time.
“We just stayed out of trouble, which was the biggest challenge, which was avoiding the people locking up and causing chaos, so I’m happy; the team’s done a good job, and we deserved it,” summed up Norris, who teammate Piastri got the points in only his third start especially after the disaster in Bahrain.
He didn’t look like it in the first round but felt in place in Saudi Arabia and continued the same in Australia. Even with the crash for Gasly and penalty to Sainz, the Australian was on the brink of his first points while battling Esteban Ocon, Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda.
With the Frenchman also losing out, it was bonus for Piastri to end up eighth and register his first points in his home grand prix. “I am happy to be in the points,” he said. What better place to do it than at home. I think we were there when it mattered and, whatever bad luck we had in the first two races, I think came out as good luck, so we avoided all the carnage there at the end when we needed to be.
“I think in clean air, the pace was pretty solid for both me and Lando. For me, I just got stuck behind Yuki for too long and kind of got dragged out of the race, so a few things to improve from my side, but for now just happy to be in the points at home. I think to have both cars well and truly into the points… at the moment, with where we are, we need to capitalise on days like today, which we did.
“I think where the car is at the moment, it’s not where we wanted it to be, and we’ve got some updates coming in Baku which will hopefully improve our performance. To get these points at this stage of the season is a really good result for myself and the team, and for me, just to get my first points on the board in F1 is a nice feeling,” summed up Piastri.
The key factor for the McLaren F1 duo was to remain calm and away from the carnage happening which resulted in double points. Team boss Andrea Stella, though, doesn’t want them to be carried away because on pace, they are still a bit behind the competition.
“We don’t get carried away, we know it was a very eventful face but it is good to score points and after we had some difficult races at the start of the season in which we were in conditions to score points but due to various issues we couldn’t,” said Stella. “So it is good now to come off this first three races with some good points.
“We know that in Baku we start another step of the season and starting towards adding some upgrades to the car. It is not going to be a game changer but it is going to be the first step to what we hope will be multiple upgrades and we hope we will be in conditions to fight for points in the future on merit and not only thanks to having eventful races,” summed up Stella.
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