McLaren says Mercedes in "different league" in dry race pace

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl thinks rival Mercedes will be in a "different league" in pace terms in Formula 1's Russian Grand Prix if it remains dry.

McLaren says Mercedes in "different league" in dry race pace
Listen to this article

While Lando Norris pulled off a shock in the damp qualifying on Saturday to grab his maiden pole position, he and his bosses are cautious about being able to stay in front in the race.

With the worst of the weather appearing to have passed, and the grand prix set to be dry, all eyes will be on whether or not Lewis Hamilton can move forward quickly from his fourth place on the grid.

Speaking about McLaren's prospects, Seidl said: "All we know from [Friday practice] is that when we have normal track recommendations, especially Mercedes was in a different league.

"It's a track where they're historically quite strong. And that showed in practice, so I guess it would be very difficult to keep especially Lewis behind.

"But, at the same time, we have seen it in previous races, if you start ahead there's always a chance to do something great, and that's what we want to try again, without getting too focused on the win.

"We will prepare this race similar to how we have done all season. We have a strong team in terms of the execution of races, in terms of strategy, in terms of the pitstops. We have two strong drivers and we will have a go again."

Norris, who managed to hold off Hamilton during their battles at the Italian Grand Prix, thinks things are not going to be as clear cut as they were heading in to the Monza race.

A fortnight ago, front row starter Daniel Ricciardo knew that if he could lead into the first corner then he had a good chance of the victory.

Norris says that there is greater uncertainty about what to expect in the battle at the front in Sochi, especially because of more limited running due to Saturday practice being a washout.

"I think it's definitely harder to give a clear answer than in Monza, because everyone was doing quite different things on Friday," he said.

"Some people were trying to treat P2 as P3 and some were treating P2 as P2. So understanding everyone's actual pace is not as clear as what it was in Monza.

"I think we have a few more unknowns in a way but we will do our homework and review everything from testing , and see what we can do."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But although unsure about how things will play out, Norris said he was up for the fight if Hamilton charged forward.

"I guess Daniel was a lot more positive and confident of it last time out: he said he's going to go out and get a win and he did. So maybe I need to change my approach a little bit more.

"Normally I'm more downbeat, and if it turns out positive, then it's better, rather than thinking positively and coming up with a negative in a way. So I'll try my best, and I'll go for it.

"I believe we can; there's an opportunity for it, but Mercedes are still as quick as they have been all season. This is probably one of their best circuits of the whole season, so it's going to be a good challenge. But I'm up for it."

shares
comments
Russell shows Williams 'not as bad as people think' - Verstappen
Previous article

Russell shows Williams 'not as bad as people think' - Verstappen

Next article

The Russian GP as it happened

The Russian GP as it happened
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022
What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi Prime

What hurt Perez most in his ill-fated fight for second in Abu Dhabi

Arguably the favourite in the battle to finish second-best in 2022's Formula 1 standings, Sergio Perez's two-stop strategy at Abu Dhabi couldn't take him ahead of Charles Leclerc when the music stopped - and several key factors ultimately precluded him from the much-coveted runner-up spot.

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2022
The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success Prime

The Abu Dhabi momentum that can propel Leclerc and Ferrari to F1 2023 success

OPINION: Charles Leclerc achieved his target of sealing runner-up in the 2022 world championship with a masterful drive behind Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi. And that race contained key elements that may help him, and Ferrari, go one better in Formula 1 2023

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2022