McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri both expressed their delight after emerging as Max Verstappen and Red Bull’s nearest challengers during a captivating wet-dry qualifying session for the British Grand Prix.
Driving heavily-updated MCL60s, Norris and Piastri navigated the tricky conditions to secure second and third on the grid for Sunday’s race, marking a significant step forward for the Woking team given their mixed start to the season.
“I was close, you know!” Norris said after qualifying, having finished 0.241s away from pole. “I was P1 in Q1, I was [P2] in Q2, and close – two-tenths – to P1 in Q3, so pretty insane, and my last lap was a good lap.
“I could hear [team boss] Zak [Brown] on the radio on the in-lap, which was the best thing ever. It’s great for myself, but also for both of us, to be second and third, was pretty amazing for the whole team.”
Having endured a number of early-season struggles, home favourite Norris underlined just how important the standout performance is for himself, Piastri and the entire McLaren workforce.
“It makes up for everything, you know,” he said. “All the hard work that we’ve been putting in, especially here, with the new livery, a home race for the team and for myself.”
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Norris then joked: “We couldn’t have had a better result today, apart from Max, again – he ruins everything! But the rest was pretty amazing, so a big thanks to everyone.”
Piastri, meanwhile, was able to join Norris at the sharp end – just a tenth further back – after taking on the upgrade package that his team mate debuted last time out in Austria.
“I mean, what a qualifying session – we were almost out in Q1,” he said, referencing the early, slippering conditions. “Then the car was a rocket ship in Q2 and Q3, and I feel like I put a pretty good lap together.
“It’s a massive result for the team as well, to be consistently… To have both of us up here is a mega result. Now we’ve got to try and stay there for tomorrow!”I
He continued: “These conditions, we do really well in them all the time. Barcelona was a similar story, Monaco, Canada as well, so we’ve had a fair few moments like that. But to pull that off in Q3 like that was a mega result.
“Obviously both of us have now got the new bits on our car and they’re working very well, so I can’t thank the team for continuing to push. From where we were at the start of the season to where we are now is a massive step in the right direction.”