McLaren can beat Aston Martin to fourth in championship – Norris

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Lando Norris reckons McLaren can beat Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship this year the team’s double podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix drastically reduced the gap between the two teams.

The two teams’ fortunes have changed drastically since the 2023 season started. Aston Martin scored a podium finish in the first race and sat second in the standings while McLaren was last.

By round three McLaren jumped up to fifth in the standings with their first points of the year, but the two teams were still separated by 53 points. By the Austrian Grand Prix, the ninth round of 2023, that had grown to 146.

But that weekend was a watershed moment for McLaren, whose performance was transformed by their first major upgrade of the season. Aston Martin have found it increasingly difficult to reach the podium and have begun to slide down the standings.

After 16 of 22 rounds, McLaren is now chasing Aston Martin for fourth place in the constructors’ championship and is 49 points behind. They have more than halved their deficit in the last two race weekends.

After learning how much McLaren had gained on their rivals after Sunday’s race, Norris believes they can overhaul Aston Martin.

“I didn’t think it was that close,” he said. “But yeah, if it’s 49, then I definitely think so,” he said.

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McLaren need outscore Aston Martin by 8.2 points per round to move ahead. That job could be made easier as three of the remaining rounds featuring sprint races, meaning teams can score a maximum of 59 points instead of 44.

Norris expects McLaren can outscore Aston Martin more often than not over the final rounds. “There’s not many races left,” he said. “I’m sure there’s going to be a couple where Aston are going to be a bit stronger.

“But I think our advantage at the minute comparing to almost every team, bar a couple, is we have two drivers who are up there fighting for these positions and fighting for these points. Not every team has that at the minute. So I think that’s helping us.”

McLaren’s points haul is divided more evenly between its two drivers than Aston Martin’s. Norris has 115 points to Oscar Piastri’s 57. Both have fewer points than Aston Martin’s top-scorer Fernando Alonso, on 174, but more than his team mate Lance Stroll, with 47.

“We can help one another, we can use one another, and I think that’s a good advantage we have over a lot of other teams at the minute,” Norris continued. “So we’re on an upward trend. We’re making good progress and days like today prove exactly that.

“Even though I know there’s going to be maybe some tougher races coming up at times and maybe not as straightforward as today but the progress we’ve made this season has been pretty incredible from my eyes.”

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Norris emphasised that he and Piastri were on the Japanese Grand Prix podium “on pure pace”.

“Nothing had to go our way. We’re just where we deserve to be, an incredible day for everyone but also for myself. Things went, maybe not always to plan, but the pace was extremely strong.

“I couldn’t challenge Max [Verstappen]. Maybe for half a car I actually got into the lead for maybe half a second so I’ll take that. But in a way, it feels better, because the pace was stronger. I could push and we were where we deserve to be, so a good job by the whole team to execute a perfect race.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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11 comments on “McLaren can beat Aston Martin to fourth in championship – Norris”

  1. Of course they can and I’m sure they will. Piastri gets stronger and stronger and he actually runs close to Norris unlike Stroll who’s never going to back Alonso up in case Alonso has an off weekend.

    1. its almost as if on sundays lance is just out for a……stroll ;)

      1. And on Saturdays he takes a nap instead of a Stroll.

  2. Master of the obvious.
    A couple more races like this one and it’s done. Aston is dead and with just Alonso carrying all the weight. Stroll checked out of the season a long time ago already.

    1. I mean, it’s basically a dig at stroll, so it’s good to see that as long as he keeps racing (which he shouldn’t on merit, at least not in a decent car) he will be considered the weak link by his colleagues.

    2. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind if alonso abandoned the sinking ship, I just don’t see where else he could go that makes a decent car atm, unless red bull decide to take him, the other drivers aren’t doing badly in the competitive teams.

  3. McLaren can and and they will.

    Aston Martin are clearly in crisis. They can’t develop the car. Their management is delusional about their performance and the possibilities to improve. Their driver line-up is one of the worst on the grid (that’s how bad Stroll jr. is; and in this regard, they can compete only with Williams, I think).
    During the testing, Alonso said that about 70% of the car will change. I doubt that they had so many changes. They had one proper update, which helped them in one race. Most other updates were too small to provide a meaningful advantage.
    Aston Martin is dead, and McLaren will beat them.

  4. If they can’t beat Stroll & Son, they’re not worthy of the McLaren name. Fed up of hearing this “amazing iconic progress journey” narrative about their crap start to the season.

    1. Uh, it is an amazing and iconic progress journey and a good story.

      1. Didn’t they say at the time of testing in Bahrain that the car they came up with was basically a failure? Something like that. What they’ve had since Austria is more of a revision than an upgrade. But whatever the most appropriate term: they certainly did well to be competitive with Mercedes and Ferrari. Although one has to also acknowledge that those teams are pretty much stuck with their car concepts and have thus fallen back into the midfield, so it’s a bit of a double sided convergence.

        McLaren, for all their improvements, has never really challenged Red Bull for a win on pace.

        1. Did Stroll really score a podium in his rookie year 2017? That reminds me of Maldonado winning a race in 2013.

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