MOTORSPORT

McLaren Banks a Spectacular Weekend

Silverstone saw an impressive improvement in McLaren’s race pace, leaving Ferrari, Aston Martin, and especially Mercedes, in disbelief.

Jordan Schmidt
July 11, 2023
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McLaren Banks a Spectacular Weekend

 

For many, Silverstone is one of the most anticipated races of the year. Its intricate layout and selection of high-speed corners and technically challenging sections can almost guarantee drama throughout the weekend. This week McLaren took the spotlight as qualifying saw a significant improvement in their unit and threatened Red Bull with lightning-fast times.

 

Qualifying was met with an electric atmosphere in the stands as enthusiastic fans cheered on their drivers with every lap improvement. The leaderboard displayed the usual Red Bull machines setting continuously faster times at the top. During Q3, the two McLarens surprised everyone by setting late lap times, causing disbelief among the crowd and team leaders.

 

For the first time in a while, we saw the two orange and chrome McLarens on the first two rows, with a coiled Red Bull seated at the head. The Ferrari duo followed in 4th and 5th, with the English drivers in their Mercs qualifying in 6th and 7th.

 

It was clear that almost everybody in attendance was thrilled at this unexpected pace originating from the recently upgraded McLarens, setting the scene for the highly anticipated race day.

 

Conditions were perfect for the day ahead as the cars lined up on the grid. After a swift formation lap, the lights went out. The McLarens had a great start as Lando Norris powered his way in front of Max Verstappen, with Oscar Piastri sneaking up the inside of the Red Bull as they entered the first corner.

 

The opening lap saw the Mercedes and Ferrari cars battling it out behind the leaders, with Hamilton overshooting the 3rd corner and falling down the leaderboard. Norris continued leading the pack with clear roads ahead; however, the brute of a car that Verstappen has been dominating with this year passed Lando on the 5th lap.

 

Racing continued with minor clashes causing little more than damaged front wings. This was until Kevin Magnussen's Haas caught fire on the lap 33. The result was a Safety Car favouring the top four cars that needed to pit.

 

The mid-race deployment of the Safety Car sparked concern among McLaren fans. With only 19 laps of the British Grand Prix remaining, a questionable tyre choice from the McLaren pit wall brought doubt to whether Norris could hold his position.

 

Verstappen was the first to pit, fitting soft tyres for the remainder of the race, with the rest of the pack fitting soft or medium compounds. The McLarens, though, placed 2nd and 5th, decided on the hard compound as the tyre of choice for the remainder of the race. 

 

This odd decision brought an element of stress as the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton was closing in with the Safety Car ending. Lando was immediately under pressure from Hamilton as we saw the Mercedes on fresh softs, determined to pass the papaya McLaren. After a lap of intense racing, Lando Norris finally managed to get heat into his hard tyres and began to pull away from the Mercedes.

 

The remaining race saw little action up front, yet a little further back in the pack, Pierre Gasly was putting pressure on the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz as we witnessed an impressive late fight.

 

The final results were as follows:

 

  1. Max Verstappen
  2. Lando Norris
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Oscar Piastri
  5. George Russell
  6. Sergio Perez
  7. Fernando Alonso
  8. Alexander Albon
  9. Charles Leclerc
  10. Carlos Sainz
  11. Logan Sargeant
  12. Valtteri Bottas
  13. Nico Hulkenberg
  14. Lance Stroll
  15. Zhou Guanyu
  16. Yuki Tsunoda
  17. Nyck De Vries
  18. Pierre Gasly
  19. Kevin Magnussen (DNF)
  20. Esteban Ocon (DNF)

 

The British Grand Prix at Silverstone was an exciting weekend, particularly for the McLaren team and fans. With no shortage of aggressive racing and excitement with a hint of chrome to celebrate the team's racing heritage. It is promising to see McLaren put up such an impressive show, and it will be interesting to see how the other Mercedes-powered cars redress their performance at the next outing.

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