Norris says 'scary' brake issues saw him qualify 15th, as Ricciardo says he needs to ‘be an adult’ about Q1 elimination
McLaren endured a tough Friday in Austria that ended with Lando Norris qualifying 15th and Daniel Ricciardo 16th for the Sprint – mechanical issues to blame for the former’s elimination in Q2.
Norris only managed 14 laps in FP1 as his engine gave up in a puff of smoke, and the British driver revealed that another major issue cost him dearly in the following qualifying session on Friday evening.
“We’re just on the back foot with braking… and it just doesn’t allow us to even do a lap at the minute,” he said.
“We had a [power unit] failure this morning – we didn’t start off on the back foot, we started fine, I think the car had decent pace and we should have been in Q3 today. I have the confidence in the car when things are working to be in Q3 but just the engine issue this morning, lost a lot of laps, and they were low-fuel laps – so Q1 was my first feeling of low-fuel, higher grip.
“Just on the back foot comparing to other teams, and now even more issues in qualifying which means in the middle of the braking zone, the car just goes straight on, which is pretty scary. But hopefully we can fix it for tomorrow.”
Team mate Ricciardo starts one place behind Norris, having been eliminated from Q1, the Australian having finished 16th in qualifying after taking P17 in FP1.
“It’s honestly just a little bit everywhere,” he explained, when asked where he was losing pace.
“I don’t want to just walk out of the turnstiles and say ‘see you later’; I obviously want to just figure it out and the only way it’s going to get better is if I try and learn and understand a bit more. So, yes, try to just be an adult in this situation.
“Of course, I’ll let some emotion out, whatever, but ultimately we’ve still got a long weekend ahead, so I need to still keep my eyes forward on the prize and know that it’ll get better if we keep working.”
Mclaren are just six points ahead of Alpine before the Sprint, which pays out points for the top-eight finishers. As for Alpine, both Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso got into Q3, the former qualifying sixth and the latter ninth for Saturday’s Sprint.