The McLaren duo of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo believe there is pace to be found in qualifying after spending most of Friday trialling new parts and upgrades.
For the first time in a long while, there was not a McLaren in the top 10 in a session. It was FP2, where Norris was lead McLaren in 12th. Though this performance seems worrying, both he and teammate Ricciardo believe they can find more pace out of the car as they were trying aero and technical upgrades.
“It’s not been a bad day,” said Norris. “I think FP1 we were a little bit more confident, or we were just a little bit quicker in FP1. FP2 when the temperature came up, we maybe just struggled a little bit more. But the car doesn’t feel bad. We brought a few different things for this weekend, so we just need to understand them for tonight and put it all together tomorrow.”
“There’s definitely just some things to improve in the balance side anyway,” he added, “a bit of understanding why we think we were better this morning than this afternoon with the temperature as well.”
Ricciardo was a bit less optimistic, the Australian saying he lacks confidence behind the wheel of the MCL35M thanks to not having tested at Barcelona in it, but he thinks he can find time overnight.
“On paper, it doesn’t look great but it certainly was better this afternoon,” said Ricciardo.
“Fifteenth in FP2 but I think it’s one second to first, it’s so close that it shows that not only is F1 close this year amongst all teams, but it’s a track that everyone knows so well, so it’s just small margins.”
“I don’t think it was the aero package or anything, I think this morning I struggled just getting kind of comfortable, I guess, or confident. I was a bit off and we were just chasing some rear grip essentially, kind of fighting the car and not really having the confidence to push it.”
“We’ve certainly got to find some more tomorrow because if we’re a second off, we might be back here [in P15]… but I think we’ll be better off, and for now we’ll get some work done and find some tenths. Or a second!”
McLaren lie third in the constructors standings and hope to stay there after the Spanish Grand Prix. Their main rivals Ferrari, look strong so it will be a grand battle come race day on Sunday.