McLaren continue their upwardly-mobile trajectory, starting the 2020 season in the best way possible by scoring their best qualifying result in years; Lando Norris stunning by claiming fourth place on the grid and Carlos Sainz set to line up in 8th.
It was a stellar lap by the youngest kid on the F1 grid, and in the end three-tenths up on his Ferrari-bound teammate in the sister car, the pair trouncing their engine suppliers, Renault, in the process.
This is what they had to say after a most positive afternoon for the team at Red Bull Ring on Saturday.
Carlos Sainz: “It’s been a very good day for the team. Congrats! We can be happy with the performance of the car after winter testing. It’s good to be fighting in the top 10 already in the first weekend, so very happy about that. Personally, I’ve been struggling a bit the whole weekend, not finding the right balance for certain corners, and I couldn’t put together the final lap I was aiming for. Otherwise I think P8 is not a bad starting position for tomorrow and we’ll definitely be fighting for the first points of the season.”
Lando Norris: “I’m very happy, this was my best qualifying position ever, so it’s a big achievement for myself but also for the team. It’s the best team result for six years, so it’s good to see the progress we’ve made. However, this result doesn’t mean we’ve made it, we’ve got to keep working hard. That’s what we’ve been doing this whole weekend, we keep chipping away. We’ve got a good starting position for tomorrow, so I’m happy with that — a good qualifying throughout. I was confident, even though it didn’t always look like we were the third-best team. To put it all together come Q3, and especially on the second run, made me happy. I think it’s good for us as a team but tomorrow’s a different day and we’ll still have to work hard during the race.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “This was a great result for the entire team today. It’s been a real boost for everyone after the challenges we’ve been through since Australia. We’ve worked hard and focused on the job, and I’m really proud of everyone here and back at base in Woking.
“It’s only one qualifying result and we know we still have a long way to go to get back to where we want to be. Therefore it’s important to keep our heads down and keep pushing, but the team executed well today and this gives us a strong base to build on.
“Congratulations to both our drivers for a good day’s work. Carlos progressed well through the sessions and he had the pace to be higher than P8. Unfortunately, we didn’t fully get the last lap in. Lando did a great job throughout qualifying and did a final great lap when it mattered to deliver his P4 time, giving us our best qualifying performance for six years.
“Of course, we have our first race of 2020 ahead of us tomorrow which is another story and will bring new challenges, but for today the whole team can be very satisfied with our achievement. We will intensively prepare as always and look forward to a good race tomorrow.”