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McLaren explains gaps between F1 qualifying and race pace

As its 2021 midfield rival Ferrari competes for wins again,McLarenhas set a step backwards in 2022, heading in to the summer break in fifth position in the constructors’ championship behind Alpine.

The Enstone squad, with whichMcLarenis now also in an off-track tussle over Oscar Piastri’s services, has generally had the way of measuring its Woking rivals across F1 2022’s first batch of 13 grands prix.

But asMcLarenis struggling to maintain with Alpine and F1’s three top teams over a race distance, the team’s leading driver Lando Norris has qualifying particularly well in recent races.

Norris qualified fourth in Hungary, three tenths before both Alpine cars, carrying out a fifth place begin in France and P6 on the grid in Britain, beating among the Mercedes cars on both occasions.

When asked whyMcLarenmanages to execute strongly in qualifying and then fall back through the race, Seidl explained qualifying can mask a few of the car’s deficits since it manages to extract probably the most from the Pirelli tyres over one lap.

“I believe generally if we compare our competitiveness in quali when compared to race, I assume in quali the deficits our car ultimately still must these top three cars. I’d say mainly on the downforce side, obviously, it is possible to mask quite a bit with the grip tyres are experiencing using one lap in qualifying,” he explained.

“But on the race distance having less performance or downforce is actually eating in to the tyres. And I assume that’s why afterward you start to see the bigger gap on the race distance.”

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

McLarentrails Alpine by simply four points entering the summertime break, largely because of Norris’ 76-point haul which sees the young Briton seventh and best of the others in the drivers’ championship.

Seidl saidMcLaren’s recent upgrades have helped keep it in the fight for P4, although he acknowledged the three top teams remain miles away even ifMcLarencan occasionally beat a Mercedes in qualifying.

“With regards to race pace, I assume in comparison to Alpine for instance, we were in good position [in Hungary]. Definitely in an improved position when compared to previous weekend in [France],” he added.

“I believe because of the upgrade that people taken to France, which we further optimised for within terms of usage, because of the task the team in addition has put in when it comes to learning from what we’ve observed in Paul Ricard, I assume we made an excellent step of progress here.

“Now it’s simply vital that you continue and keep further improving the automobile since when you start to see the lap time difference, that is still there also in qualifying, it really is clear that [the top teams] simply have a stronger car.”

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