McLaren awarded P5 start but prepping for grueling race


McLaren boss Andreas Seidl believes Spielberg's scorching temperatures could lead to an incident-packed Austrian Grand Prix which Lando Norris will start from fifth on Sunday's grid.

Norris qualified P6 after a flawless but hard-fought session, but the McLaren rookie will gain a spot thanks to Kevin Magnussen's scheduled five-place demotion.

It initially appeared like the Brit would line up fourth, taking into account the 3-spot penalty handed to Lewis Hamilton for impeding Alfa's Kimi Raikkonen.

However, because of how the various penalties are applied, Norris will launch his race from fifth, the best position enjoyed by McLaren on the grid since since Jenson Button's P3 start in... Austria in 2016.

"It was a good quali," said Norris. "We knew it was going to be a tough and it turned out to be closer than at Paul Ricard.

"But we can all be pleased with starting P5 for the second race in a row – a great job by the team here and back at Woking.

"It’s a good starting position. I’ll try to have a race like we had last week at Ricard.

"The key will be to consolidate my start position and stay out of trouble and see where we end up. The high ambient and track temperatures are likely to have a big impact on the results."

Given Carlos Sainz's start from the back of the grid following a power unit change, McLaren purposefully limited the Spaniard's mileage in qualifying.


"We didn’t attempt any quali runs in Q2 for Carlos in order to save the car, and, at the same time, to be sure not to make it through to Q3, which wouldn’t have allowed us free tyre choice for the race start tomorrow.

"Another excellent performance from Lando, who starts P5 again as in France last week.

"Congratulations to the entire team and both drivers who executed two clean sessions in challenging hot conditions today."

Seidl agreed with Norris that Sunday's high temperatures could throw a spanner into the works of a few contenders

"As always, our heads are down now and we’re remaining focussed, as points get distributed tomorrow," added the McLaren chief.

"We’ll prepare for a long race in hot conditions which is likely to feature many incidents. So I guess we can look forward to an exciting race."

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