Tag Archives: McLaren

Lando Norris sends F1 title warning to Lewis Hamilton after signing new McLaren contract

Lando Norris has sent a title warning to Lewis Hamilton, after signing a new contract with McLaren. The 21-year-old tweeted: “[I’m] so excited to tell you that I’m staying with McLaren. My goal is to win races and world championships and, over the last three years, McLaren have shown me that they’re able to build a car for me to do that in. Let’s continue what we started.”

The team said the new deal “cements the McLaren driver line-up for the coming years”, with Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo already signed to a long-term contract.

Norris made his F1 debut with McLaren in 2019 and has scored two podium finishes since then. He was previously part of the team’s junior driver programme.

“Having been with the team for almost five years, I feel very much part of the family here and I couldn’t imagine starting the next phase of my career anywhere else,” Norris added.

“McLaren has been a huge support since my days in junior series and I’ve really enjoyed learning and developing as a driver since.

“My commitment to McLaren is clear: my goal is to win races and become Formula 1 World Champion and I want to do that with this team.

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“Since joining in 2017 our progression has been consistent and we have clear ambitions together for the future.

“I want to say thank you to Zak and Andreas for the belief they’ve shown in me since the beginning, and to the whole team for giving me such a strong environment to continue my career in.

“We’ve already had some incredible moments together which I’ll never forget – two podiums and securing P3 in the championship.

“Together with Daniel and the rest of the team I’m looking forward to pushing for even more success in the years to come.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown described Norris as “one of the brightest talents on the F1 grid”.

“I’m delighted with the extension of our agreement with Lando for 2022 and beyond,” he said.

“He’s been instrumental in our return of form here at McLaren and we’re proud of the growth he’s shown since he first started with us back in 2017.

“Lando is one of the brightest talents on the Formula 1 grid and we look forward to seeing him continue to go from strength-to-strength both on and off track.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl added: “Our decision to confirm Lando’s long-term future at McLaren was very straightforward. Lando has impressed us since his rookie year with his performances, and his evolution as a driver since then has been clear to see.

“He’s an integral part of our performance recovery plan and his record so far, securing two podiums with the team over the past year, has shown he’s a formidable competitor on track.

“Like him, we have strong ambitions for our future together and I’m pleased we’re continuing this journey for both Lando and the team.

“In Lando and Daniel we have a hugely talented and exciting driver line-up, and this announcement is a strong signal of commitment to the next chapter for McLaren from 2022 onwards.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed

‘They spread s**t!’ – Mercedes spark Red Bull and McLaren war of words over George Russell

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has launched a scathing attack on McLaren CEO Zak Brown, likening the American to Red Bull chief Christian Horner after his claim that George Russell is being lined up for a Silver Arrows seat next season. The 23-year-old, who has gained plenty of admirers during his time at Williams over the last two years, has long been touted as the natural heir to reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.
The Stevenage-born racer, along with Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, is out of contract at the end of the year which could potentially open up two free slots with the German outfit.

Russell is a Mercedes junior driver effectively on loan at Williams and seems to be the logical option for Wolff if Hamilton or Bottas decide to move on ahead of next season.

Brown suggested last month that Russell could eventually be partnered by Red Bull star Max Verstappen, who has struggled to chip away at the dominance of Mercedes since his F1 debut in 2015.

“Yes, I think you will see Max and George there in 2022,” Brown told the Daily Mail.

“I think that is the obvious conclusion. Lewis wins title number eight this year and is the winningest driver [most successful] in every category, they have a one-year deal with him.

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“George is coming out of his deal and Max has a deal he comes out of. You have Max’s experience and youth, you have George’s youth. 

“If I am Mercedes, that is a pretty killer line-up for the next five years.”

Wolff has since poured cold water on Brown’s claim with a foul-mouthed response in which a comparison was made to Horner, who has gained an unwelcome reputation for playing mind games over the last few seasons.

“Brown is like Christian Horner,” Wolff told Austrian publication oe24.

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“They just spread s**t. I think Zak wanted to give Christian one with it.”

Mercedes claimed the first Grand Prix victory of the new season last week as Hamilton produced a fantastic display to hold off the challenge of Verstappen on fresher tyres and take the chequered flag in Bahrain.

The Dutchman squeezed into the lead with only a few laps remaining, but was ordered to concede the position after leaving the track in order to get ahead of his rival.

The result came as something of a surprise to Mercedes, who had been comfortably second-best to Red Bull over the course of the weekend and in pre-season testing the previous week.

Wolff revealed after the race that he was not expecting his team to come out on top, suggesting that improvements are desperately needed in order to stand any chance of maintaining their dominance this year.

“If somebody told me before Sunday that a Mercedes win was going to be the result I would not have believed them,” he told reporters.

“We recovered well from the pre-season test but, if we are 100 per cent honest with ourselves, we are lacking quite a bit of pace in qualifying.

“In the past, Bahrain has not been a strong race for Red Bull and they have not been particularly good out of the blocks either, but this weekend shows that in 2021, that is no longer the case.

“I have no doubt they are extremely difficult to beat and are leading the pack.

“We have not suddenly found some awesome performance, but the win was a combination of good race strategy, a solid race car and being fortunate at the end.”

Lewis Hamilton sent F1 title warning by McLaren star Daniel Ricciardo – 'I think we can'

Daniel Ricciardo has revealed that he is hoping to take Lewis Hamilton’s place at the top of the Driver’s Championship standings in the near future, potentially by the end of next year if McLaren can continue their rapid progression towards the upper reaches of the grid. Ricciardo scored his first points with the historic British outfit at Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix, crossing the line in seventh place, three places behind new team-mate Lando Norris.
The pair fought closely out of the blocks on the opening lap, but it was the 21-year-old that drew first blood to show his more experienced counterpart that he could be in for a tough battle over the course of the campaign.

Ricciardo’s arrival has introduced proven race-winning pedigree into McLaren’s ranks, with his most recent victory coming at Monaco during his final campaign with Red Bull three years ago, while he managed two podium finishes behind the wheel at Renault last season.

He has consistently spoken of his aim to fight for a Drivers’ Championship title before the end of his career, and with McLaren progressing on an upward trajectory over the last two years, and Mercedes losing ground to the chasing pack, the Perth native believes that his time to shine could be on the horizon.

“Obviously I’ve done a bit of moving around the last few years,” Ricciardo told the F1 YouTube channel.

“It’s not something I want to continue doing or plan on doing. It’s stressful and actually hard work so I feel like this team has already laid out a very nice foundation.

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“And if I can build on what I can already see that they’ve got and personally achieve all of my goals here, then I think we can fight for a world title, hopefully already as soon as next year.”

Ricciardo rose to stardom during his time with Red Bull, who provided the popular Aussie with nine Grand Prix wins before he joined Renault in 2019, becoming their No 1 driver after falling behind Max Verstappen in the pecking order.

He struggled to achieve anything more than moderate success with the French outfit, with last year’s pair of third-placed finishes the best results of his short spell.

Looking ahead, Ricciardo is eyeing further shots at glory and wants to ensure that his presence is felt at McLaren, with Norris aiming to assert his dominance in his third season in F1 after the departure of Carlos Sainz.

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“I definitely want to get my own name on the some of the trophies in the MTC [McLaren Technology Centre],” he added.

“That’s one aim and I also really want to look back on the year and know that I have made a difference within this team.

“The team has created something pretty awesome, particularly in the last 24 months, and I really want to feel like I’ve contributed to that and ride the wave that they are on.

“But I want to do some of the weightlifting and maybe say, ‘alright, this team has made another step because of my input, my drive and my determination’.”

McLaren CEO Zak Brown is a huge admirer of Ricciardo, who he believes can lead the team to great things over the course of the 31-year-old’s three-year contract.

The American claimed back in December that the ‘Honey Badger’ would trouble the likes of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso on an equal footing, suggesting that he has every chance of mounting a title bid before the end of his career.

“Fernando, I think, scores himself nine out of 10 on everything,” Brown told journalist Peter Windsor.

“Daniel is awesome over a single lap and awesome over a race distance. I see a lot of aggression in Daniel. Until you have them both in the same car at the same time I don’t think we’ll ever know.

“But I don’t think there’s anyone faster than Daniel at the moment, so I’ll say maybe it’s a tie, but I’m rooting for my guy now.”

Lando Norris raises McLaren concern ahead of Bahrain Grand Prix qualifying

Norris heads into his third year as a Formula One driver, and his third also with current team McLaren.

And he admitted that could be why he is more astute to picking up on issues with the car, which switched from a Renault to Mercedes this season.

“A little bit, I think every driver wants confidence, no matter what day it is in Formula One, whether it’s their first day or last day, and almost it’s the opposite you know,” he added.

“The first day in a Formula One car you want the confidence and if you’ve got 15 years of experience in Formula One you can get away with a bit less confidence because you kind of have more experience with what might happen, how to drive around with problems, and so on.

Max Verstappen makes Mercedes and McLaren prediction after Red Bull star sets Bahrain pace

Max Verstappen expects Mercedes to be Red Bull’s main rivals despite a strong showing from McLaren in both of Friday’s practice sessions at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
Lando Norris was second in the first session and third in the second in the MCL35M while Hamilton was fourth and then third in Mercedes’ W12.

Valtteri Bottas slumped to fifth in FP2 after being second only to Verstappen in FP1 as the Dutchman topped the time-sheets in both sessions.

McLaren’s third-placed finish in 2020 was their best season since 2012 and they have added in Daniel Ricciardo, who managed two podiums for Renault in 2020, alongside Norris for this season.

The Australian went only ninth fastest in the first session but improved to P6 under the lights as both Mercedes-powered orange cars showed excellent pace.

Yet despite Mercedes’ troubles, with Red Bull carrying a pace advantage into FP3 and qualifying on Saturday, Verstappen expects the world champions to be closer to them than McLaren.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 to reflect on Friday’s running, Verstappen said: “It was alright. Of course different conditions again compared to testing. It’s been alright.

“Good feeling in the car. Of course there’s still things to look into, tyre-wise as well, and a bit of balance tuning. Overall I’m pretty happy.

“Still, tomorrow is again a different day. Even more windy, which with these cars is quite tricky. We’ll have to try and be on it. But a good start to the weekend.”

Asked if McLaren could be bigger rivals than Mercedes to his team, Verstappen was confident the Silver Arrows will be back to their best soon enough.

He said: “I don’t think so. I still expect Mercedes to be the strongest Mercedes-powered car.”

Seven-time world champion Hamilton reflected: “We thought Red Bull would be as fast as they are if not faster. We know they’re leading at the moment.
“I don’t think we’re the fastest at the moment but we’re not far off. We have a clear target of where we want to be. We’ll see tomorrow.

“The main thing in my mind is that we still have plenty of work to do if we want to fight for the pole and for the win.”

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff insists it is not yet truly clear where the Brackley-based outfit stand compared to their rivals and in particular to title hopefuls Red Bull.

“It’s just a real dogfight when you overlay the fastest laps and even the long runs, it’s just so very close,” he said.

“Every kg in fuel load can make quite a big swing. So we don’t really know. I think we’re definitely closer here than we’ve been in testing. But I wouldn’t know where to position us versus Red Bull.”

Lewis Hamilton honest about Red Bull Bahrain edge as Mercedes star delighted for McLaren

Lewis Hamilton admits Red Bull are ahead of Mercedes after day one of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend and says it is “great” to see McLaren so close to the front of the field.
The first race of the season gets underway in the desert this Sunday and the first two practice sessions of the 2021 season took place on Friday.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen topped the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2, while McLaren’s Lando Norris was second in the evening session after third in the first.

Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas went second quickest in the first session but was down in fifth under the lights, while Hamilton went fourth and third.

The Briton found himself 0.235s back on pace-setter Verstappen in the second to fuel hopes that Red Bull can truly take the championship fight to world champions Mercedes this year.

The Dutchman was also quickest in pre-season testing at the same circuit, when Mercedes endured a litany of problems.

But Hamilton is confident that the Brackley-based outfit, winners of the last seven straight Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships, are making progress.

However the seven-time world champion admits Red Bull have the early edge going into FP3 and qualifying on Saturday, and insists he’s delighted to see former team McLaren – without a title since Hamilton’s 2008 triumph – enjoying such fine pace.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1, Hamilton said: “We thought Red Bull would be as fast as they are if not faster. We know they’re leading at the moment.

“McLaren are looking great and it’s great to see them taking a step. It’ll be interesting to see how the long runs are.

On Mercedes’ struggles, the 36-year-old continued: “I definitely do [feel like we’ve taken steps forward]. Coming into this weekend we’d done a lot of work over the past week.

“I think we have taken a step forward but we still have more to do. With tyres and downforce reduced, the global balance has just shifted and it wasn’t where we wanted.

“This weekend it’s looking better but it’s still not perfect. We’re working as hard as we can. We’ve got great people working in the background.

“I know that we still have a hill to climb but we’re staying positive.

“And these tyres, the performance we’ve lost doesn’t help. We’ll work away at night and try and find a way.”

Red Bull’s Verstappen meanwhile reflected: “Of course different conditions again compared to testing. It’s been alright. Good feeling in the car.

“Of course there’s still things to look into, tyre-wise as well, and a bit of balance tuning. Overall I’m pretty happy.

“Still tomorrow is again a different day. Even more windy, which with these cars is quite tricky. We’ll have to try and be on it. But a good start to the weekend.”

Asked if McLaren could be greater challengers to Red Bull than Mercedes, the Dutchman added: “I don’t think so. I still expect Mercedes to be the strongest Mercedes-powered car.”