Norris: McLaren straight-line speed still 'pretty shocking'
Lando Norris says McLaren’s depressed straight-line speed was even more of a handicap than usual in Baku where overtaking in Sunday’s race proved nearly impossible for the Briton.
McLaren introduced in Azerbaijan several updates for its MCL60 that delivered a slight performance boost to its car and allowed Norris to qualify P7 on Friday, just behind F1’s established front-runners.
However, race day was a long drawn-out affair for the Briton who was pretty much on his own for most of the afternoon. Norris lost a spot at the start and was then was pushed out of the top-ten when a safety car mitigated his early pitstop.
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He eventually made it back to P9 in the closing laps of the race, but it had been a long afternoon for the McLaren charger.
“Long race, like 20 laps in I was hoping that was the end already,” Norris told Sky Sports F1.
“We were just unlucky, the Safety Car came out a lap after we boxed, so we didn’t really lose out in actual positions, we just lost out to the two cars Hulkenberg and Ocon, but they had to stop still, so probably didn’t make much of a difference.
“But in terms of just going out, I guess maybe I probably would have been in no man’s land if I was ahead of them, because the rest of the guys would have cleared off.
“So in a bit of a race of our own in terms of pace I would say, but a couple of points, best we could have asked for today so I have to be happy with that.”
Among its updates in Baku, McLaren mounted a revised floor on its MCL60. But the car’s velocity on the straights remains its significant weak point, and one that cannot be compensated for in the corners as Norris noted.
“Straight-line speed we’re still pretty shocking, which makes overtaking on a day like today near impossible,” he explained.
“And it’s not like we have a lot more downforce in the corners to catch up and then slow on the straights, we’re just same in the corners and slow on the straights.
“So it’s a tough battle on days like today and probably Miami will be something similar, but it’s a new track, some of the updates we can look into and understand and maybe try to improve on a little bit, and the updates should work a little bit better there than it did here even.”
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