McLaren boss reveals Mercedes surprise as encouraging Max Verstappen claim made

Andrea Stella thinks McLaren would have been competitive for a podium in Australia even if Max Verstappen hadn’t announced his retirement, given their lead over Mercedes.

Lando Norris, a British driver of the MCL38, brought McLaren’s first podium of the championship home in third place, trailing only Charles Leclerc’s second Ferrari by three seconds.

Andrea Stella: As if I hadn’t anticipated that
Overall though, it was an unexpected result, as Max Verstappen, who had started on pole, had to retire from the Grand Prix due to a brake fire not long after Carlos Sainz passed him for the lead.

Verstappen’s Sunday afternoon at the Albert Park circuit was ended when his rear-right brake exploded as he was losing performance and positions and making his way towards the pit lane.

Ferrari proceeded to take the 1-2, with Sainz emerging victorious and Norris rounding out the podium with his P3.

Stella was taken aback by McLaren’s lead over Mercedes and Aston Martin, but he thinks the team would have been competitive even if Verstappen had finished the race because Leclerc might have beaten Norris during the pit stops.

Towards the end of the race, Fernando Alonso and George Russell were battling it out for sixth place, more than a minute behind Norris.

“It appears like today, McLaren and Ferrari could have been there with Verstappen,” McLaren team manager Stella said. “I think what happened in terms of split of pace between McLaren, Ferrari, I think potentially Verstappen, he already kind of started to complain even at the start of the race.”

However, I’m surprised by the division between these vehicles and then Aston, Mercedes, and the rest. As if I hadn’t anticipated that.

He said there was a tyre-dominated race and he thinks that’s partly because of tyre degradation.

He continued, saying, “Sainz kind of supported the theory that today was a tyre-dominated race.”

“Because, to be honest, there wasn’t much of a difference between a McLaren and a Mercedes car.” It is more important to manage the tires because, after ten laps, if your tires degrade less than someone else’s, your car may be three or four tenths faster simply because of that difference.

“Therefore, I believe it is related to the anomaly or extremely distinctive tyre behavior that exists in Australia.”

Stella believes that the RB20’s advantage is not as great as it was in the first two rounds of the season, when Red Bull secured the 1-2 finishes. This is good news for McLaren and all of Red Bull’s competitors.

“The good news is that this faster car isn’t really that much faster,” he continued. We had a close relationship.

“It’s encouraging for Japan, in my opinion, that some of the qualities that make Australia a good place for us are further enhanced by the higher ratio of medium-high-speed [corners] to low-speed [corners].”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.