McLaren is having a season to remember.
Not only is the Renault-powered team exactly 20 points ahead of where it ended the 2018 season, it’s over double the factory effort’s points, on 82, compared with Renault’s 39.
Its two new drivers in Carlos Sainz, who arrived from Renault, and rookie Lando Norris, have not held the outfit back.
SOUNDBITE (English) ZAK BROWN,
CEO, McLAREN RACING:
“We have a great new look with our race car here, two new drivers, for the first time in 12 years, so we are definitely ready for 2019, very excited, definitely feels like the next step in the McLaren journey.”
A slow start to the year saw only one point scoring finish in the first three races, by Norris in Bahrain, where the Briton finished sixth. On the other side of the garage, Sainz suffered a DNF in both Australia and Bahrain, before the bad luck moved to Norris, who was taken out of the Chinese GP on a first lap clash with Daniil Kvyat.
But a double-points finish in Baku saw the season begin to turn around.
Sainz finished the next seven races in the top-10 - including fifth places in Germany and Hungary. Norris hasn’t scored as consistently but took ninth in Budapest - for McLaren’s fourth double points finish.
Norris’ form a factor of his extensive pre-season preparation.
SOUNDBITE (English) LANDO NORRIS,
F1 DRIVER, McLAREN:
“Training, so physically, mentally - going through with my engineers, as many things as we can from the strategy side of things, driving on the simulator, driver preparation, rules - there’s a lot of different things which are very different to the past few years in any other category.”
The remainder of 2019 could be something to savour for the team.