It's been a very positive weekend for McLaren so far, with Daniel Ricciardo and Lando Norris stealing the show during this afternoon's Sprint Race, who qualified respectively in third and fourth position, that will become second and third following the penalty given to Bottas, for the change of the fourth Power Unit and other components.
We told you The Honey Badger was hungry after yesterday! 🍯🦡— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 11, 2021
A lot can change in 24 hours. 👊pic.twitter.com/WnaPg3z9k9
The most important thing for the McLaren drivers was qualifying ahead of the two Ferraris, who overtook the British team in the Constructors' Championship during the last race weekend at Zandvoort.
During a media session, after the Sprint Race, with MotorLat and other selected media, both McLaren drivers gave their opinion on a potential win in tomorrow’s race:
“That’s a good joke, no,”- Norris said laughing – “I think obviously well’ try if there’s an opportunity, but Mercedes’ pace is too far off.”
“I think in a way that little bit slipstream of Daniel helped me in my defence to Lewis, to gain 2 or 3 seconds, but I think that in the long race tomorrow, not this Sprint Race that lasted only 18 laps, it’ll be more difficult. But we’ll try, you never know what happens in Monza,” he added
Ricciardo explained how the things might go at the start tomorrow, and how they could actually bring home a good race, emphasizing the importance of strategy on a track like that of Monza:
“We’ll see what can happen at the start, I think obviously there’s a potential chance to lead the race, so obviously we’ll try to do that and figure out the next fifteen laps after that, but we’ll see.
“I’m pretty confident, pretty positive going into tomorrow, and I think we can definitely shake things up a little. I think one challenge could be the pitstops, you know, the pitstop window, that’s where potentially the fastest cars have the chance to stretch their legs,
“That’s maybe the part of the race where we have to be careful, but at the start I think we can attack and try to aim for glory,” the Aussie stated.
Daniel Ricciardo will be ahead of his teammate for the third time in a row tomorrow, thanks also to his newfound confidence and his improved feeling with his MCL35.
“I never really left, I just moved aside for a while, that’s all. I think in this second part of the season, not speaking about results, I feel a bit more comfortable and better within myself now.
“The summer break was good to switch off a little bit, it was hard to get back and look from afar, just try to gain perspective, so I think it has helped me to get back in shape.”
When they were asked about the new format, that we saw for the first time in Silverstone and this weekend in Italy, they gave different opinions about it:
“I’m pretty happy with it, I think there are some things we could change a little bit, but generally I like having one practice and then go straight to the qualifying session, I think that puts some pressure on us, drivers and teams, so I do like the Fridays,” Ricciardo said
“I’m not sure FP2 does a lot, I don’t think it lasts enough, I know TV time and everything, but I think for the health of the race it might last a bit more, because we gain lots of information through it.
“About yesterday’s Quali, it was nearly dark when we finished, so if it was raining or a red flag had happened, it would’ve been a bit of a mess.”
Norris continued: “I don’t want to be negative, but even today it wasn’t the most exciting race, of course it’s entertaining for the fans, they can watch it, but I don’t think it’s the best thing to watch. Monza it’s more of a racing track I couldn’t see the point in doing it.”
Formula 1 is considering changes to its Sprint Race format, saying it could open the door to use reverse grids.
“From my side, I’m not a big fan of the reverse grid, but if it’s something that makes sense and does something for the Championship, it could be something more exciting for the fans, and I think that’s great, it could also be more of a challenge for us as drivers and teams,” Lando said.
“But we’re still discussing it between us drivers to try to understand what’s the best thing to do,” he concluded.