McLaren looked quick all weekend and they were confident they’d been able to stay in front of their rivals for the Constructors Championship. However, the Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc proved once again their speed in the single-lap.
On Saturday afternoon at the Circuit of the Americas, Ferrari outqualified both McLaren cars, as Charles Leclerc will start fourth and Carlos Sainz fifth ahead of Ricciardo and Norris in sixth and seventh respectively. Ricciardo wasn’t fully comfortable with his performance after sneaking through to Q3 with a late lap but says he isn’t fazed by having to chase down the Ferraris ahead.
“I'm not too satisfied with the result today, for two reasons: one, I think I could've done a better lap, and two, we’re behind both Ferraris.
Commented Lando Norris at the end of the Qualifying session.
“We were kind of expecting to be ahead of the Ferraris, they made a good step today compared to where they were yesterday,” Norris continued.
“So I guess we didn’t get our hopes up yesterday but they made a good jump from yesterday to today. We were still competitive, we were still not bad, but they were just quicker.
"Not an easy day, I didn’t feel it was too bad. I made a couple of mistakes – just the last two corners I overcooked a little bit – so I probably lost a couple of positions there but it happens and I’ll make up for it tomorrow.”
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Both McLaren drivers will start on the medium compound on Sunday while Sainz and his teammate will be on softs. This is why Norris hopes this will play at their strategic advantage.
“We’re starting on the Medium tyre and one of the Ferraris is on the Softs, so maybe we can take advantage of that and finish ahead of them.
“We'll work on our strategy overnight and make sure we're ready for any opportunities tomorrow."
Even after Ferrari surprised McLaren with their pace in qualifying, Lando Norris said he’s looking forward to being the hunters in Sunday’s race at the Circuit of The Americas.
“We do have a good car, just today Ferrari were that little bit ahead. It wasn’t like they were four or five tenths ahead, they were just a little bit ahead, so I think we have a chance.
“I think he [Carlos Sainz] is going to have an advantage on at least the first half of the first stint, so there’s still things that they’ve gained from starting on the softs, but I think in the long run hopefully we can pip them.”