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“One or two more laps and I think I would have had him” | McLaren F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Published On:: 19/05/2024

Only seven tenths of a second separated Lando Norris from the winner Max Verstappen. One more lap and Lando could have been able to try and repeat the success he had in Miami and all this in an emotional race weekend that saw the whole F1 circus and Sebastian Vettel paying tribute to Ayrton Senna driving his amazing McLaren MP4/8.

The 2024 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix was far from a Formula 1 classic. Back on an “old school” track, it pushed drivers and teams to the limits and McLaren shone as the highest-scoring team: a strong P2 for Lando and a solid P4 for Oscar that came from good strategy and good pace. 

Norris proved that Miami’s win was no fluke. On a track where it is very hard to overtake, he put pressure on Verstappen and finished very close. The Brit was even in contention for the victory at the end of the race. It all came about as a consequence of a sensitive tyre management. In the first stint, in fact, Verstappen managed very well the Medium, while after the stops Lando did a very good job with the Hard, resisting the temptation to overdo it when Leclerc was catching up. It paid off at the end with a strong pace in the hunt for victory. 

“I fought hard right until the very last lap”

“I fought hard right until the very last lap”, said Norris after the checkered flag in front of the Ferrari red and McLaren papaya tide that had invaded and colored Imola. “We just lost out a little bit too much to Max in the beginning. He was he was much better in the first stint and obviously in the second stint we were stronger, but yeah, just was a tough first half and a much better second half. One or two more laps would have been beautiful”.

It's nice to get used to the taste of the podium champagne. For Lando and soon for Oscar. 
“We are at a point now where we can happily say we are in the position of Ferrari and Red Bull. This is what we have to get used to. The team is doing a good job. We are all doing a very good job. It's still a surprise to say that it's frustrating not to win. But after Miami’s victory and the improvements we made, it’s what we should start to expect”.

McLaren’s performance is not more a surprise, but a reality considered the close gap in qualifying and in the race. Lando didn’t give up till the end. 
“I don't know why but I found myself praying for someone to say one more lap”, he confessed. “I just did everything I could to catch up and have a chance. But as soon as you get within two seconds, you start to lose downforce and grip. The tires start to overheat again so I kind of struggled for a couple laps. Despite this, we got really close”.
Looking back, Lando added: “What could have we done better? We struggled too much in the beginning of the race. Because then, once the tires are where they are, you can't actually do a lot”. 

Looking at the Constructor standing, Mclaren is solidly the third force, with the car being competitive the whole weekend .   
“We are all very close. Without Max's slipstream, we would have been ahead. And without Oscar's penalty, we would have had a 1-2 on the grid for today. Anyway, we are confident. it’s a tight battle and when you're split by one-tenth in qualifying, you just need to continue to extract the maximum potential every time we go on track. It's exciting”.

There is no time to rest and the F1 circus gets ready for the iconic Monaco Grand Prix next weekend. The circuit is very special and cannot be compared to Imola, so a success on the Italian soul is not a guarantee of success in the city circuit. 
It's such a different circuit, so predictions cannot be accurate. But of course, it is very good to keep the momentum high. we arrive confident to be on the right track. We're fighting against Ferraris and Red Bulls and that's the expectation now. This is where we are, and we need to keep on working hard. Monaco is a different track, but we want to repeat ourselves”.