McLaren, Suzuka, 2023

McLaren drivers hail team’s ‘outstanding progress’ after first double podium

Formula 1

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Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri praised McLaren’s progress this season after securing second and third in the Japanese Grand Prix.

The two McLaren drivers appeared on the podium together for the first time this season. Norris finishing behind winner Max Verstappen and Piastri taking his first podium in his rookie season.

Norris hailed McLaren’s first double podium result since the 2021 Italian Grand Prix as an “amazing day” for his team.

“A P2 and a P3 – we couldn’t have asked for any more,” Norris said. “The team did an amazing job.

“My start was very good. I almost had Max, but Max is Max as well, so I didn’t have a lot of chance in turn two. So I tried, but the pace was extremely strong today compared to everyone. We’re not close to Max, but we’re not miles away either, so it was a very good day.”

After McLaren started the season struggling to score points, Norris said the result was a sign of the constant improvements the team have been making through the year.

“We’re pushing, we’re getting there,” Norris said. “The progress we’ve made is pretty outstanding.

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“I’m very proud of the team, the steps forward we’re making every weekend. I’m sure there’s going to be some tough times to come, but we’re getting there step-by-step and our first double podium together with Oscar. So a good moment for us.”

Piastri described his first career podium in Formula 1 as a “pretty special” moment for him

“It feels pretty special, definitely,” he said. “I’ll remember it for a very, very long time.

“I can’t thank the team enough for giving me this opportunity. There’s not many people in the world who get this opportunity in their whole life, and I’ve managed to have it in my first season. So thank you very much to the team. It wasn’t my best race ever, but it was enough to get a trophy in the end. So super happy.”

After allowing his team mate through after their first pit stops, Piastri caught and passed the Mercedes around the outside of turn one to move back into third place.

“The move on George, I knew I had to try and get past, otherwise I was going to get stuck for a while,” Piastri explained. “So that one was a bit close, but our pace after that was very strong.

“I think in the second half of the race I got more into a groove, more into a rhythm and the pace was a bit better. So very, very happy and excited to try and get some more.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “McLaren drivers hail team’s ‘outstanding progress’ after first double podium”

  1. So James Key was let go earlier this year. Was it that the car was always quick, but not ready? Or has his replacement David Sanchez worked magic with the existing platform?

    1. Understanding between the lines from public comments is that Key forced/chose development path aero guys disagreed with, when the data showed he was wrong his fate was sealed.

      Stella talks a lot about allowing aero guys to do their work.

    2. Sanchez is yet to join the team.

  2. Being 20 and 35 seconds behind is still really bad in F1 terms. The other teams are just somehow even worse.

    1. Once your finish position is secure you save engine, etc. I suspect they could have finished nearer Max?

    2. A Showbiz Car on lap 48 and they’d have been right up Max’s chuff, what a McResult that would have been.

  3. Happy they are doing well again, but I hope they’re not putting all their eggs into the 2023 basket and are putting some development time into the 2024 car. Would be disappointing to see them finish this season strong but start next year as badly as they did this year and then have to play catch up for most of the season.

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