McLaren never expected F1 podium pace in Monaco

McLaren said it never expected to be so fast at the Monaco Grand Prix, as Lando Norris took another Formula 1 podium finish in 2021.

McLaren never expected F1 podium pace in Monaco

The Woking-based outfit was bracing itself for a tough time around the streets of Monte Carlo, but in the end its MCL35M was actually closer to Red Bull and Mercedes than at other tracks.

Team principal Andreas Seidl was delighted with how things had panned out, with Norris finishing third, as McLaren continues to stake its claim for third in the constructors' championship.

"I would say we definitely didn't expect that in terms of pace, that we could be so close to Mercedes, Red Bull, and also Ferrari," said Seidl.

"We have seen since the beginning of the season, and in the first races, we were always struggling in the low speed sections, so that was really encouraging to see this weekend.

"So a very big thank you to the team back home, in engineering and production to give us this car for this weekend.

"They did a great job over the winter with this car and they kept pushing and delivering the upgrades."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

The Monaco podium was especially important for McLaren as it came on a weekend when rival Ferrari could have scored a load more points in their fight for best of the rest.

Charles Leclerc had taken pole position but was unable to start the race after a driveshaft hub broke on the way to the grid, while Carlos Sainz finished just one place ahead of Norris.

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Seidl admitted that there had been a big danger of a big points swing towards Ferrari, that thankfully his team had avoided.

"For the championship, how the race played out was obviously a good outcome for us because, seeing the strong pace Ferrari had on Thursday and also on Saturday, yes there was high risk to lose a lot of points to them," he explained.

"Obviously we benefited from the bad luck of Charles, and it's something you don't wish for any to your competitors in that way.

"But it's important to always be there when opportunities are there and that's what we managed to do.

"The race came together with a flying Lando, and I think in terms of strategy the team did a great job and was spot on."

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