Well, it certainly seems that McLaren created something of a rocket ship at Silverstone this year. The upgrades that looked promising in Austria looked even better at the British GP, taking the entire grid by surprise (even McLaren!).
After a brilliant qualifying session, both McLaren’s were up in the top three with Lando Norris in P2 and Oscar Piastri in P3. The standings would have likely stayed that way had Piastri pit under the regular Safety Car, rather than the Virtual Safety Car, but you can’t prepare for every possibility, and P4 for the rookie is nothing to scoff at considering McLaren essentially doubled their points haul after just one race, overtaking Alpine with a total of 59 points to 47.
This haul comes in shortly after the McLaren CEO, Zak Brown, said that their main rivals this year, Alpine, are “definitely beatable” which perhaps reads as a bit of an understatement now.
Nothing strange happened to McLaren for this result, it was all based on merit. If you aren’t convinced, just look at Norris’ defence against Lewis Hamilton during the Safety Car restart. Phenomenal driving especially considering Norris was on Hard Tyres against Hamilton’s quicker Soft Tyres.
Speaking post-race, Norris said that the whole team had “done an amazing job” with all the hard work they’ve put in had delivered a result that was “pretty amazing, pretty insane.”
While he was happy about his own result, he lamented his teammates bad luck.
“Honestly, we should have had a P2 and P3, Oscar did an amazing job all weekend and he should have been P3 today without the Safety Car, so a shame, he deserved it…”
Mercedes had the best chance of taking on the McLarens this weekend, but they couldn’t make a dent, shocking both Hamilton and George Russell.
“… I just want to say a big congratulations to Lando, and to McLaren,” Hamilton said. “It’s my family, it’s where I first started, so to see them back up there, looking so strong… I mean that thing was rapid through the high-speed corners, wow! I couldn’t keep up, but we had a good little battle on the restart.”
Russell couldn’t help but be impressed by McLaren and had nothing but praise for the team and the drivers, particularly Oscar Piastri.
“The McLarens were super-impressive, they drove a great race,” Russell said. “I feel bad for Oscar, because he was driving really, really well. I’ve been super-impressed by what he’s been achieving this year and he was the deserving podium finisher. Unfortunate Safety Car timing, that hindered him and hindered myself.”
Russell added that he hopes “it’s a one-off, but they were quick in Austria as well, which is a totally different circuit.”
Ferrari driver, Carlos Sainz, said that he and his team were shocked by McLaren’s performance.
“… I think we expected Mercedes to be quicker, which they were, we didn’t expect McLaren to be quicker, which they were.”
For his part, Piastri was very happy despite missing out on the podium.
“P4, what a result! Of course it was slightly frustrating with the Safety Car, I thought we were on for a podium for a very, very long time in that race, so it hurts a little bit – but I’m very, very happy that the hurt is for a podium.
“Given where we started this year, I’m very, very happy. Awesome result for the whole team. It was amazing to be running back at the front again and I can’t wait for more.”