In what proved to be their best Saturday performance at Silverstone, McLaren surpassed expectations as Lando Norris showcased his skills in his striking metal-effect car.
As Norris completed his final flying lap in Q3, the grandstands erupted with cheers when he temporarily secured the pole position with a time of 1m29.861s.
Although Max Verstappen edged past him in the dying moments, extending the gap by another 0.241s, Oscar Piastri’s third-place finish solidified McLaren’s strong showing, proving it was no stroke of luck.
Upon analyzing the GPS data, it becomes evident that Norris had the upper hand in the first sector of his final flying lap in Q3, outpacing Verstappen by 0.094s through the newer Village corner—a challenging right turn that leads to the Wellington Straight.
Verstappen managed to recover his lost time through the subsequent left turn, and the two drivers remained neck and neck as they raced down the back straight. However, the Red Bull’s powerful DRS system provided a 3mph advantage, propelling Verstappen to a speed of 196mph.
Norris lost some ground in the braking zone at Brooklands, and for the rest of the lap, he was unable to overtake Verstappen, even momentarily.
As they passed the National pits, Copse, and navigated the revered Maggotts-Becketts complex, the time difference remained around 0.1s. Nevertheless, Verstappen enjoyed a slightly better exit onto the Hangar Straight, allowing him to extend his lead thanks to Red Bull’s superior straight-line efficiency.
The gap persisted at approximately 0.2s through the downhill right-hander of Stowe, but Norris lost another 0.1s at Vale. In the left-right chicane, Verstappen made a significant leap forward.
His lead peaked at 0.433s before Norris, driving a McLaren that Lewis Hamilton likened to the appearance of a Red Bull, mounted a minor comeback through the final Club corner, heading toward the finish line.
Norris’s comprehensive set of upgrades for Silverstone played a crucial role in his performance. McLaren’s team principal, Andrea Stella, noted that nearly every aerodynamic part on the MCL60 had been changed between the races in Austria and Hungary.
In the initial stage at the Red Bull Ring, the updates included an improved sidepod inlet design, revised bodywork, a fully revamped floor, engine cover, halo fairing, and adjusted cooling louvres.
While rookie Piastri had to wait for a race to receive these new parts, they were finally installed on his car for the weekend at Silverstone.
However, Piastri had to make do without a completely new front wing, which, in conjunction with an updated nose cone, enhances downforce. Additionally, revised rear suspension setup and brake duct aerodynamics were introduced exclusively for Norris at the British Grand Prix.
The disparity between the two McLarens was most noticeable in slower corners. At the start of the lap, their speeds were almost identical, but Piastri fell behind by 0.169s on the exit of Village.
With a faster entry into the lengthy right turn at Luffield, Piastri managed to reduce the gap to 0.058s, but he started losing ground again through Maggotts and Becketts.
By the low-speed final chicane, the difference had noticeably increased to 0.177s, with Norris gaining the most advantage during the transition from the tight left-right section. Ultimately, 0.131s separated the two MCL60 cars at the finish line.
McLaren emerged as the second-best team at Silverstone, temporarily dispelling the notion that the championship fight was solely between Red Bull and Mercedes. The fluctuating performances of Aston Martin, Ferrari, and Mercedes throughout the season had positioned them as the contenders for the unofficial “best of the rest” title. However, McLaren showcased their strength in this race, securing the second-fastest position.
This result dashed Charles Leclerc’s hopes of a front-row start as he qualified fourth, ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. Leclerc achieved a time of 1m27.136s, trailing Norris by 0.175s.
In terms of track performance, there is no definitive area where the McLaren has a distinct advantage over the Ferrari. While Ferrari appears slightly stronger in high-speed sections, the two teams are evenly matched in slower corners and acceleration zones.
A closer examination of the lap time delta between Leclerc and Norris affirms this observation. They remained evenly matched until the exit of Village, where Leclerc conceded 0.122s. However, he quickly made up for it with a burst of speed before the slow Loop turn leading to the Wellington Straight, putting him fractionally ahead by 0.036s.
Under braking for Brooklands, Leclerc fell back by a tenth, but the two drivers were nearly identical in their speed for the run to Copse. From the fast right turn to Maggotts and Becketts, Norris gradually gained an advantage before Leclerc closed the gap once again on the Hangar Straight.
Leclerc briefly pulled ahead through Stowe, leading Norris by 0.107s at that point in the lap. However, a subpar exit from the final chicane in the SF-23 cost Leclerc 0.15s, ultimately favoring McLaren.
In summary, McLaren’s outstanding qualifying performance at Silverstone was backed by impressive data. Lando Norris demonstrated his skills and benefited from the team’s upgrades, securing a strong position against fierce competition.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about McLaren qualifying
What was McLaren’s performance like in the Silverstone qualifying?
McLaren delivered an impressive performance in the Silverstone qualifying. Lando Norris showcased his skills and secured a strong position, benefiting from the team’s upgrades. He temporarily secured the pole position before being overtaken by Max Verstappen. However, McLaren’s third-place finish with Oscar Piastri proved that their success was not a fluke.
What upgrades did McLaren introduce for the Silverstone race?
McLaren introduced a comprehensive set of upgrades for the Silverstone race. These upgrades included an updated sidepod inlet design and bodywork, a fully revised floor, engine cover, and halo fairing, as well as tweaked cooling louvres. However, it is important to note that certain upgrades, such as a completely new front wing, an updated nose cone, and revised rear suspension setup and brake duct aerodynamics, were exclusive to Lando Norris’s car.
How did Lando Norris perform compared to Max Verstappen in the qualifying?
Lando Norris put up a strong performance in the qualifying, going head-to-head with Max Verstappen. Norris showcased his skills by outpacing Verstappen in the first sector of their final flying laps in Q3. However, Verstappen ultimately secured pole position by a small margin. The GPS data analysis revealed the areas where Norris gained and lost time compared to Verstappen, highlighting the competitiveness between the two drivers.
How did Charles Leclerc fare in the qualifying at Silverstone?
Charles Leclerc had a solid performance in the qualifying at Silverstone, securing the fourth position on the grid. He achieved a lap time of 1m27.136s, placing him ahead of his teammate Carlos Sainz. Leclerc fell short of Norris’s time by 0.175s. The lap time analysis showed moments where Leclerc gained and lost time compared to Norris, highlighting the close battle between the two drivers.
How did McLaren fare overall compared to other teams at Silverstone?
McLaren emerged as the second-strongest team at Silverstone, positioning themselves ahead of teams like Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Mercedes. Their performance temporarily dispelled the notion that the championship fight was solely between Red Bull and Mercedes. McLaren showcased their strength and competitiveness, securing a strong position as the second-best team in the race.
More about McLaren qualifying
- F1: Lando Norris takes McLaren to best Silverstone qualifying result
- Max Verstappen extends pole streak at Silverstone
- Oscar Piastri’s impressive qualifying performance confirms McLaren’s strong showing
- McLaren reveals upgrades for Silverstone race
- Comparing lap times: Lando Norris vs. Max Verstappen in Silverstone qualifying
- Charles Leclerc’s qualifying performance at Silverstone
- McLaren emerges as the second-strongest team at Silverstone