Portuguese Grand Prix – Both McLaren drivers finished the day well but believe the results flatter them and more work is needed.
A late fast lap from Lando Norris meant McLaren ended Friday’s second practice session in third and fifth but neither driver was overly happy with the result.
“The tarmac and temperatures here make it quite tricky to get everything in the right window,” said Norris, who ended FP2 just over eight tenths behind Bottas’ Mercedes. “Which makes the car balance quite tricky as well. It’s been very difficult to put a lap together, due to the disrupted sessions with the red flags and traffic at such a short circuit.
“Those factors, in combination, have made it a very difficult day to achieve a good balance. We ended up in a good position, but I think we’re a long way from that in terms of actual pace. So, we’ve got a lot of work to do tonight to see how we can improve for tomorrow.”
Carlos Sainz also commented on the tricky nature of the track and weather conditions: “I think it’s been a challenging Friday out there, for everyone. A track with very low grip, and the wind picking up in the afternoon made things even more tricky.
“We managed to finish the session fairly high up on the standings without particularly clean runs or clean laps. That means everyone has a very large margin for improvement going into Saturday. We still need to improve the car quite a bit overnight and make sure we get it in the right window for tomorrow.”
McLaren’s Technical Director, James Key, agreed that there was work to be done but had a more positive response to the day. As mentioned earlier in the week, McLaren are still testing new items on the car, which seem to be working well.
“It’s nice to come to another new circuit,” Key said. “Portimao is a great track and a genuine technical challenge with the variations of corner type and elevation, so there’s been a lot to learn today. We’ve been able to do our homework, including the running we did for the Pirelli tyre test, which added some useful laps for everyone.
“We had some test items on the car today and we’ll have to analyse the data from those this evening, but early indications are positive. The car seemed reasonably stable and well set-up from the start, despite the difficult grip conditions, which is a credit to the work put in by the race team here and the various groups back at the factory. There’s still work to do overnight and tomorrow morning but, overall, it’s been a productive and useful day.”
Tricky track to test things thoroughly throughout today ☁️ pic.twitter.com/m05uXgdCrx
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) October 23, 2020