Mixed feelings for McLaren after double-points finish

Lando Norris leads Daniel Ricciardo

McLaren ended the Formula 1 French Grand Prix with mixed emotions after recording a double-points finish but slipping to fifth in the constructors’ championship.

Lando Norris was seventh and Daniel Ricciardo ninth in the 53-lap affair at Paul Ricard, a result which marked the first time McLaren has recorded back-to-back double points finishes in 2022.

However, with Fernando Alonso sixth and Esteban Ocon eighth, Alpine outscored the British squad and moved into fourth in the teams’ championship by four points.

“It’s a mixed feelings going away from the track today,” admitted team principal Andreas Seidl.

“On the negative side, we couldn’t go the pace of the Alpines today, so we have to acknowledge that in race trim, over the distance, they were quicker. That’s why they scored four points more than us.

“On a positive side, I think we had a much better weekend,” he added.

“Compared to previous weekends, it was good to have a clean weekend in terms of reliability and on the operational side of the challenges we were facing, for example, in Austria.

“I would say it was a good weekend from both drivers, and we ended up with both guys in the points.”

While considered a positive by Seidl, Ricciardo was hardly celebrating his ninth place finish.

“It was okay,” the Australian said of his race.

“I mean, obviously we’re in the points but ninth isn’t really enough points to make me satisfied.

“It was more just the pace, like hanging on.

“Once we got halfway through the stint, the others could just keep that pace and I’d simply just fall off, just aren’t able to use anymore [of the] tyre or the grip.

“[I] don’t feel like I’m aggressive on the tyre or anything, it’s just simply can’t hold what the others can.”

Having run near Norris for much of the race, Ricciardo slipped back in the final laps, crossing the line more than eight seconds down.

However, Seidl suggests there were mitigating factors at play, and it was not a straightforward as tyre management for the Australian.

“Today he just had a lot of pressure from Esteban [Ocon] from behind,” he reasoned.

“Due to that, I guess at some point the tyres then just started to fall off more than Lando’s, so lost Daniel a position to Esteban and was falling back some.”

Ricciardo ceded the place to the Frenchman on Lap 44, falling 3.4 seconds back from the Alpine in the nine laps to the chequered flag.

“It’s still certainly tricky out there,” the Australian said.

“Obviously playing defence when I want to be on the attack.

“Tried to hold on to Esteban Ocon for as long as I could, but in the end the Alpine I think we’re a bit too quick today.

“Managed to hold on to the Astons at the end, but obviously I want to be catching cars, not falling back into the hands of others.”

Formula 1 now heads to the Hungarian Grand Prix, Free Practice 1 for which begins at 22:00 AEST on Friday.

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