McLaren shone on a dark and wet Styrian Grand Prix qualifying day with Carlos Sainz claiming a sensational third place on the grid with his best time of 1:20.671 and teammate Lando Norris, a couple of tenths shy, ending sixth fastest on a tricky day at Red Bull Ring.
This is what they said at the end of the day in Spielberg:
Carlos Sainz: “I’m very happy with P3, especially in these conditions! I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of driving in the wet and achieving my best-ever qualifying result today feels great. Towards the end of Q3 the track got even trickier and it wasn’t easy to judge where to take the bigger risks.
“Definitely the most exciting and stressful qualifying sessions I’ve done. Starting P3 tomorrow puts us in a great spot to fight for good points, but there is still a long way to go until the chequered flag. The race will be dry tomorrow so things can change quickly. We’ll prepare everything tonight and go for it tomorrow!”
Lando Norris: “Qualifying was tough but I think it was good, to be honest. The car was nice, and I had good confidence to push, especially in Q1 and Q2. In Q3 we got a bit unlucky with where we were on track when the track was at its best, which is something to review.
“The team did a good job, the car was good, Carlos obviously did a good job and I should have done a better job from my side. It was nice to get out in the wet and do some driving. I’m still in a decent position for tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Hats off and huge respect for the entire team and both drivers for a fantastic job today. P3 and P6 in a very difficult and very wet qualifying session is another confirmation that we have a great driver line-up, a great team and that we could make a good step with the car compared to last season.
“Carlos and Lando simply delivered and made the difference, doing a great job with keeping the cars on track and together with their engineers they always tried to find the right spots on the track to exploit the potential of the car and the lap times. A very impressive final lap of Carlos gives us our best genuine qualifying position since 2014.
“The team on the pit wall and the engineers did an excellent job with the tyre strategy throughout all sessions and this was key to our result. I also want to thank Renault who continue to ensure we’re able to maximise our package. The driveability of the power unit is a key element of achieving such a result in wet conditions.
“Lando’s grid penalty means we’re P3 and P9, which is still a good position for tomorrow to be able to go for points again. We expect a full dry race tomorrow. We go again.”