F1: McLaren happy to finally get some points on the board at Australian GP

It has taken three races, but McLaren have finally registered their first points of 2023 with both cars in the top 10 at the Australian GP.

Lando Norris drove an excellent race to get P6 in a chaotic afternoon at Albert Park. Meanwhile, Oscar Piastri benefitted from the late red flag chaos to get his first career points on Sunday.

With this double points finish, the British team elevate themselves in the constructors’ standings. The Australian GP allowed McLaren to move off the foot of the table to fifth after two horrible opening rounds.

However, although the team enjoyed some fortune in Melbourne, Lando Norris insisted that the team earned their points.

Lando Norris: “a good day” for McLaren in Australian GP

Norris – the senior of McLaren’s drivers – said his MCL60 showed encouraging race pace. Even before Carlos Sainz’s penalty and Pierre Gasly’s crash, the Brit was running in the top 10.

“I wasn’t lucky today; I just wasn’t unlucky!” joked Norris, via Formula1.com. “But for sure, our best weekend so far. With all my comments and my feelings yesterday, I didn’t have my hopes too high [after qualifying].

“But actually, since lap 1, the pace compared to some of the cars around us, like the AlphaTauri, the Haas, was a bit closer. I felt a little bit quicker – so, I could race against them, actually have some fun, attack, and a bit of racing action. So, it was a good day.

“P6, some reasonable points for us, same for Oscar. We just stayed out of trouble, which was the biggest challenge today – avoiding the people locking up and causing chaos. Yeah, I’m happy; the team’s done a good job, and we deserved it.”

However, when speaking to Sky Sports, the Brit pointed out that there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Norris outlines MCL60 weakness as upgrades loom

Lando acknowledged that McLaren’s car is far from perfect. In particular, qualifying has been an area of difficulty in 2023. Norris and Piastri have had three Q1 exits between them this year. Additionally, Oscar Piastri made McLaren’s sole Q3 appearance in Saudi Arabia.

“I think that qualifying is a weakness for us,” added the McLaren star. “We’re so poor in DRS conditions. When we open DRS, we don’t really go any quicker, and the majority seem to gain a lot more speed than we do.

“So, when you’re in DRS – which is four times around here – we’re at a big loss. Then for today [the race] we’re a bit on par with the rest and things come towards us a bit. I think we understand that. The thing is, all qualifying [sessions] have DRS, so it’s a big weakness for us at the minute.”

There are now a few weeks until the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku. In this period, McLaren are preparing upgrades that they hope will build on the positive showing at the Australian GP. These should centre on some aerodynamic adjustments, with more significant upgrades expected later in the season.

Featured image credit: Getty