“Yeah baby!” whooped Lando Norris as for a split second he nearly blew the roof off of Silverstone circuit with pole position momentarily his, until Max Verstappen “ruined everything” on Saturday.
The roof remains! Norris had a top spot start for his home British Grand Prix stolen from him by a couple of tenths. Nevertheless, it was a sparkling qualifying for McLaren with Oscar Paistri doing his bit to claim third place in a revamped MCL60 that is clearly revelling in its new upgrades. There will be Chrome on the front row on Sunday! McLaren fans rejoice!
In parc ferme, after an enthralling qualifying session in front of a packed house, after watching his P1 go to P2, Norris cheekily blamed Verstappen for pooping his party: “Max always ruins everything! Triggering laughter from the soon-to-be triple F1 world champion and the roar of approval from the crowd:
“No, I’m very happy. It’s been a special day for us. I was close! Pretty insane. My last lap was a good lap. I could hear Zak (Brown) on the in-lap which was the best thing ever. It’s great for both of us, pretty amazing for the whole team.
“It makes up for everything, all the hard work we have been putting in – especially here with the new livery, home race for myself and the team. A big thanks to everyone.
“To do that with the chrome livery at our home race, for the team, for myself, is amazing. Big thanks to the whole crowd here, they’re amazing. It’s been a very special day for us. I look forward to the race,” added Norris.
Brown: Hopefully we can get a sniff of the podium
McLaren was due a big result and Austria’s good showing, followed up by today’s performance is a big tick in the right direction for Zak Brown’s team, which might defy the odds and actually become a force this year, the final year of his five-year plan to get McLaren winning again.
In that regard, the day belonged to Brown whose joy was well exposed as he ran around the McLaren garage high-fiving and bear-hugging anyone in reach and saving the biggest ones for his two young drivers who delivered with the goods given to them.
After one of the more positive results, on merit, that McLaren have achieved under his watch Brown told reporters at Silverstone: “Our race pace was really strong. We have been stronger in Qualifying than the race but yesterday was the opposite. Hopefully, we can get a sniff of the podium.
McLaren have won the British Grand Prix 14 times. Only Ferrari have more with 18 P1 Silverstone trophies in their cabinet back at Maranello. While the Reds won the race last year with Carlos Sainz, the Woking outfit have not won their home race since Lewis Hamilton triumphed for them in 2008.
Can Norris end that drought and take a famous victory on race day at the old RAF airfield for McLaren? Zak Brown reckons: “I don’t think we can win it on pure pace, so we will have our hands full.”