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Formula 1 Emilia Romagna GP

McLaren: Naive to think regular F1 wins now possible

McLaren would be “naive” to think it can win regular Formula 1 races following Lando Norris’s Miami Grand Prix triumph, according to Oscar Piastri and the British driver himself.

Lando Norris, McLaren F1 Team, 1st position, Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing,rea Stella, Team Principal, McLaren F1 Team, the McLaren team celebrate victory

Norris’s sensational win last time out followed McLaren massively upgrading its 2024 F1 car, having shown bursts of Red Bull-beating pace at the Miami track.

This included Norris’s lap times on old tyres compared to early leader Max Verstappen before the mid-race safety car that transformed their races and led to McLaren’s first GP win since 2021.

Speaking in the pre-event press conference for this weekend’s Imola GP, Norris insisted “we’re third” in F1’s current pecking order, which was later put to Piastri.

When asked if he thought that was a fair assessment, Piastri replied: “It's very hard to know. We went into China and Miami thinking we would struggle a bit more and they've probably been our most competitive weekend. Miami certainly was.

“I think we've kind of learned to stop predicting how we're going to be and just see how we go.

“I think it'll be tough [at Imola]. Ferrari has got some upgrades this weekend. I don't know what Red Bull will do but everyone is constantly making their cars better. We can't stand still and kind of just expect it to be like that every weekend.

“I think it would be naive of us to think we can win every weekend now that we've won one. But I think we are definitely getting closer.

“We're learning more and more as we go through the season, which is helping us a lot.”

Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 Team, in the garage

Oscar Piastri, McLaren F1 Team, in the garage

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Norris also feels McLaren still has work to do to win regularly, with the tricky challenge on tyres this year in races such as Australia, where Carlos Sainz won for Ferrari, Verstappen’s China win and then the Miami events all behind the differing results generated.

In events where the tyre challenge has been more straightforward – such as Bahrain, Jeddah and Japan – Red Bull has dominated ahead of Ferrari.

“The progress we're making, with the developments that we've had, there's no reason to say no [to being in title contention soon],” Norris explained.

“But I do know it's a whole other task to do it consistently, to do it every weekend. And when you are there to deliver under pressure every time – in qualifying, in races – to battle for these positions more than what I have done.

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“That's still something I look forward to, racing against Max a bit more and racing against the Ferraris a bit more.

“Which is something we've not done, I've not done, a huge amount over the last few years.

“I'm not overconfident, I'm not under confident. I feel like I'm at a good balance of accepting where we are and I still think we're the third best team at the minute, but that could change if we have another good weekend here.

“I'm confident with how the team are doing, with our rate of development, which is better than any other team on the grid, that by next year, we can challenge a lot more often for wins.

“And in the big picture, hopefully, challenge for a title.”

Additional reporting by Jonathan Noble

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