McLaren drivers in ‘a pretty good place’ after productive Friday

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McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both felt encouraged by their opening day of running at Imola, despite a few glitches disrupting Friday’s first practice on one side of team papaya's garage.

While Piastri enjoyed a clean first session which he concluded 9th, an electronic issue hampered Norris’ work plan. The Miami GP winner was nevertheless able to set the eight fastest lap in FP1.

Given F1’s return this weekend to a traditional format, McLaren took the opportunity to further validate parts of its Miami upgrade package that did not get the required mileage last time out.

“Due to the upgrades being introduced at a Sprint event, we didn’t have sufficient time to do all the procedures and driving that is required to monitor the aerodynamic upgrades at the last event,” confirmed McLaren team boss Andrea Stella.

“The good news is that all seemed to go according to expectation and the drivers could work through the set-up and better understand the tyres.

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“While we have some opportunities to improve, and some other cars look pretty quick, both Lando and Oscar seem happy that we are in a decent position for the remainder of the weekend.”

Indeed, Norris, despite finishing his day outside of the top ten, was satisfied overall with his MCL38’s performance improvements.


“It’s been a reasonable day, if a little bit disrupted in places,” commented the Briton.

“We had a test programme with some things to try after our upgrades in Miami, which was important to fit in. But at the same time, we had to deal with a couple of little issues here and there which made completing our plan a little bit more tricky than we were hoping for.

“However, the car felt good, I think we made some good improvements through the day and I was happy with that. Another few into tomorrow and I think we can have a good day.”

Piastri enjoyed a strong FP2, the Aussie ending up second fastest, just 0.192s adrift from Ferrari pace setter Charles Leclerc. But equally as important was the comfortable feeling generated by his MCL38.

“Friday done. I think it's been one of our better Fridays and we seem to be in a pretty good place. It’s very tight out there so we’ll see what we can find for tomorrow, but it’s been an encouraging day.

“I’ve felt pretty comfy from the first lap this morning, so I’m excited for tomorrow. The team have done a good job with getting the remaining upgrades on my car, so thank you to them.”

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