McLaren drivers bracing for another ‘close’ fight after solid Friday


McLaren enjoyed a productive start to their Spanish Grand Prix weekend, with Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both satisfied with how Friday’s programme unfolded for team papaya.

Norris lost no time getting up the speed at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona as he topped the timesheet from Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in FP1 before clocking in third in FP2.

While it was a quiet day overall, there was still a heavy workload to assume on both sides of the Woking-based outfit’s garage in the blistering hot conditions.

“I think a pretty good day,” commented Norris. “It’s never easy in these hot conditions, like it never feels amazing.

“The tyres overheat very quickly, so it’s difficult to get everything in the perfect window, but I think all in all it was a good start to the weekend.

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“I’ve felt pretty comfortable with the car from the beginning. It’s close, and it’s going to be about trying to improve the small things tomorrow because I’m sure it’s going to be close again like it was in Canada.”

Piastri concluded his day P7 in the pecking order, 0.358s adrift from Mercedes pacesetter Lewis Hamilton in FP2.

Like Norris, the Aussie noted the hot and low-grip conditions that challenged drivers. But the 23-year-old expressed an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the weekend even though there were a few loose ends that required tightening.


“It looks tight out there,” said Piastri. “I think a bit of a tricky day with the track conditions.

“It was very hot, and much lower grip than I think a lot of us expected. So it took a bit of dialing in for FP2, still some things to work on in my driving but I think we’re getting there with the car.

“I think we’re in a pretty solid place, but it just looks really tight. The long run pace looks pretty good as well, so all in all, a decent day.

“Maybe not the best Friday of the year but definitely in the mix and if I tidy a few things up, we’ll be well and truly in the mix.

“It looks like quite small mistakes are making a big difference, or small differences in tyre preparation and stuff like that, so I’m expecting another tight session tomorrow, and probably a tight race as well.”

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