McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl is relieved his team could move on quickly from its struggles in Mexico with a strong double-points finish in the United States Grand Prix.
Having been best of the rest at a number of venues this season, McLaren struggled in race trim in Mexico as Lando Norris retired and Carlos Sainz dropped from a seventh-place start to finish 13th. In Austin, Sainz and Norris started seventh and eighth respectively once again but this time finished in the same positions — albeit reversed and behind Daniel Ricciardo — and Seidl (pictured at right, above, with Sainz) says it shows Mexico was a one-off.
“The main thing for us was bouncing back after a very difficult Sunday in Mexico, so I’m happy with the outcome that we could score 10 points and had a solid race weekend,” Seidl said. “Very positive for me was the qualifying performance because it looks like in qualifying now we clearly could make a step compared to the other cars in the midfield.
“Race starts were again great for both cars, Carlos was unlucky. I think it would have worked out but then coming together with (Charles) Leclerc and (Alex) Albon pushing him off compromised the outcome of his race.
“What we have to work on is we have to make the next step on race pace and not just in qualifying pace, because Ricciardo simply was a tiny little bit quicker than us.”
Seidl says McLaren was able to understand the reasons for its poor performance in Mexico rapidly enough to approach the race in Austin differently, even if the race was a display of where it still has room to improve.
“We did analysis after the Mexico race and the outcome was that clearly we lost performance I think around Lap 5 on Carlos’ car due to some aero degradation. That snowballed into losing performance first of all and then after the pit stop with the hard tires we were trying to overcompensate for the performance loss by overdriving (so) we overheated the tires and performance was even worse.
“So we learned from that. This was not an issue (in Austin). We made a step in terms of qualifying performance from Singapore onwards, which obviously at races where overtaking is difficult then pretty much locks you into the positions in the race; but in terms of race performance we couldn’t make the step yet to the full degree. That’s now the main area to work on.”