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McLaren boss satisfied with Baku: 'Would have even been ahead of Russell'

McLaren boss satisfied with Baku: 'Would have even been ahead of Russell'

03-05-2023 11:33 Last update: 13:00


Andrea Stella looks back on the race weekend in Baku with a satisfied outlook. To GPblog and others, the McLaren team boss explains the strategy for the weekend, in which the team clearly focused on the Grand Prix rather than the sprint race.

McLaren made a remarkable choice in qualifying for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Lando Norris was sent out on his last set of softs to set a fast lap, which eventually earned him seventh place in the Grand Prix. A good result, but it did mean he was not allowed to take part in Q3 of the sprint shootout due to strict rules. So in effect, the sprint race was sacrificed so that points could be scored in the Grand Prix.

"We started from places 10 and 11 [in the sprint], and we knew we had eight quicker cars ahead of us," Stella explained. "Points are given from P1 to P8. So we needed to do something in order to score points. Our main objective of the weekend was always going to be the race because this is where you have more points available. The mission was to finish behind the top four cars, and that's what we accomplished. So we are pleased with this result."

McLaren leaves Baku feeling satisfied

However, Stella does not want to draw the conclusion that McLaren are back immediately. "I still think some of the opposition didn't maximize their performance during the weekend. So we have to be careful, especially Alpine, they seem to have a bit of a troubled weekend. But I think we leave Baku with many positives. Without the safety car, we would have been ahead of Russell in the second stint. But with the safety car, actually Russell overtook us. I'm not saying we were as quick as Russell, but you may give it a go at trying to keep him behind."