In the initial part of a rainy Q1 session, Norris veered off the track at Stavelot. He slid through the gravel, following his race engineer’s advice that he might have incurred damage to the front wing.
Upon further examination in the garage, it was discovered that Norris had caused considerable damage to his floor. As a result, he faced limitations for the remainder of the session due to the mixed weather conditions.
Norris managed to reach Q3 but had to accept seventh place, with his rookie teammate Piastri finishing ahead. The McLarens faced difficulties in maintaining high speed on the straight sections.
Norris expressed his satisfaction to Sky Sports F1, stating that he had a strong performance in the first quarter and significantly outperformed his competitors. Despite falling slightly short of Oscar’s achievement, Norris was content with reaching the third quarter.
“I believe he performed admirably. His performance in the middle sector was highly impressive. However, we struggled significantly in the straight sections.”
“I am content despite experiencing both victories and defeats. The situation could have been much more unfavorable, as I could have been eliminated in the initial round, therefore I am satisfied with finishing in seventh place.”
Norris stated that the entirety of his MCL60’s floor was damaged and typically, it would be possible to fix it under parc ferme regulations.
Using tape will not be effective. We attempted to use tape, and although they made significant progress in repairing it, there are still too many issues to be competitive today.
I believe we are not doing poorly. I believe that if our car was in good condition and I hadn’t made the mistake in Q1, we might have had a slightly more successful day.
“We were not far behind the individuals in front, but I am content with what I achieved from the situation.”
Piastri also believed that he had not fully utilized the potential of his McLaren car.
Oscar Piastri, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Due to a cancelled practice session caused by rain, the only opportunity for the 22-year-old rookie to run on slick tires in changing track conditions was during the wet-to-dry Q3 at Spa-Francorchamps. As a result, he had limited points of comparison.
The Australian expressed a strong sense of ease during challenging circumstances like those.
In certain aspects, the track returning to its normal state and drying up posed a challenge for me since I haven’t had the opportunity to complete a dry lap in an F1 car here.
“When it comes to braking points and similar aspects, particularly in wet conditions or when not connected online, it is crucial to avoid braking too late. Regrettably, I believe I missed out on a significant opportunity in this regard.”
McLaren has performed exceptionally well in recent races, with Norris achieving two back-to-back podium finishes in Silverstone and Budapest. The team’s 2023 season has been rejuvenated thanks to a thorough upgrade of their car.
However, Piastri believes that Ferrari, with Charles Leclerc starting in pole position, will present a greater challenge in the battle for second place, trailing behind the formidable Red Bulls.
It appears that Ferrari is performing better this weekend, indicating that the competition for the second position is not limited to just two teams, but rather three or even four.
“We have another qualifying session and sprint race ahead, but I believe we can feel optimistic. The speed and performance of the car remain quite impressive.”