McLaren Could Have Taken Second or Third Place on Close Bahrain F1 Grid

Published Categorized as Cars No Comments on McLaren Could Have Taken Second or Third Place on Close Bahrain F1 Grid
McLaren had pace for “second or third” on tight Bahrain F1 grid

Norris and Piastri showcased impressive speed over a single lap amidst a fiercely contested qualifying session trailing Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

However, both drivers encountered difficulties in piecing together their optimal laps during Q3, resulting in them settling for seventh and eighth positions respectively. As the 2024 season commences with razor-thin margins, any errors in qualifying are proving to be particularly costly.

Reflecting on his compromised Q3 lap, Norris admitted to the challenges faced, suggesting slight changes in wind conditions might have played a role. Despite this setback, he managed to clock a time just 0.435s adrift from Verstappen’s pole position and a mere two tenths behind Charles Leclerc in second.

McLaren (Credits: Motorsport)

“It was tricky,” Norris remarked. “Maybe the wind changed a little. In Q3, when you’re pushing that bit harder and variables shift, even minutely, it can significantly impact performance, as it did for me.”

He expressed satisfaction with the overall performance of his car throughout qualifying, though lamented his final lap which fell short of expectations. Nonetheless, Norris remained optimistic about the potential for a stronger finish.

Piastri also acknowledged facing unexpected challenges during the day but emphasized McLaren’s significant strides forward since last year’s Bahrain opener.

“It was a bit of a trickier day with the car for me,” Piastri admitted. “I felt my last lap in Q3 was a step forward, though still not entirely comfortable.”

He highlighted the progress made compared to the previous year, noting that securing third place with just two tenths of improvement is a positive start to the season.

Looking ahead to the race, McLaren anticipates being competitive among the midfield, alongside Ferrari, Mercedes, and Aston Martin. However, the team recognizes that certain weaknesses of the MCL38 might become more pronounced with higher fuel loads.

With minimal pace disparities between teams potentially leading to DRS trains, strategic decisions and tire management are poised to play pivotal roles in determining race outcomes.

“Qualifying has shown that the pace difference between many cars is minimal, and I don’t expect significant changes in the race,” Piastri observed. “Progress won’t come easy, but this track allows for overtaking, and strategic prowess will be crucial. We’re definitely in contention.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments