Lando Norris (L) and Lewis Hamilton © Getty Images
McLaren impressed with their new-found speed at Silverstone on Sunday but Lando Norris warned there would still be times when they looked painfully slow.
Norris finished second behind Red Bull’s runaway championship leader Max Verstappen for the team’s first podium appearance in the 10th race of a season they started on the back foot. His McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri finished fourth.
“It was amazing to watch how good his car was in high speed,” commented Mercedes’ seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, who finished third after chasing Norris to the chequered flag.
“That McLaren is a rocket ship. At high speed it was insane.”
Norris felt the aerodynamically upgraded Mercedes-powered car was indeed very competitive, and almost on a par with dominant Red Bull on the high-speed parts of the circuit.
“Towards the medium speed (areas) like Stowe, I would say we’re close to being the best car on the grid,” he said.
“But we do have a poor car and I say poor, I would say pretty terrible, in the slow-speed corners. Extremely difficult to drive.
“We’re going to go to a couple of tracks coming up where I’m sure people are going to be saying, ‘What have you done now?’ Like, ‘How has it got so bad all of a sudden?’
“It’s just this track’s allowed us to look after the tyres nicely, keep them in a good condition. Simple as that. So a lot of it is track-specific.”
McLaren moved up to fifth overall in the standings, ahead of Renault-owned Alpine who failed to score a point at Silverstone with two retirements. Ferrari are fourth and 98 points further down the road.
The podium was the team’s first at Silverstone since Hamilton in 2010.
“I don’t want to get too excited, but good things have come from the upgrade,” said Norris.
“But there’s still plenty of things which are miles away from, say, competing in certain places with a Mercedes and as a whole package competing even with a Red Bull. So a lot more work to be done from both of those areas.”
Team boss Andrea Stella said the indications were encouraging but McLaren had also surprised themselves by being able to keep ahead of Ferrari and Mercedes.
“I think we have to acknowledge that the improvement seems to be genuine here in terms of race pace,” said the Italian, who added that the cooler temperatures also helped with tyre management.