McLaren says Mercedes in "different league" in dry race pace

McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl thinks rival Mercedes will be in a "different league" in pace terms in Formula 1's Russian Grand Prix if it remains dry.

McLaren says Mercedes in "different league" in dry race pace

While Lando Norris pulled off a shock in the damp qualifying on Saturday to grab his maiden pole position, he and his bosses are cautious about being able to stay in front in the race.

With the worst of the weather appearing to have passed, and the grand prix set to be dry, all eyes will be on whether or not Lewis Hamilton can move forward quickly from his fourth place on the grid.

Speaking about McLaren's prospects, Seidl said: "All we know from [Friday practice] is that when we have normal track recommendations, especially Mercedes was in a different league.

"It's a track where they're historically quite strong. And that showed in practice, so I guess it would be very difficult to keep especially Lewis behind.

"But, at the same time, we have seen it in previous races, if you start ahead there's always a chance to do something great, and that's what we want to try again, without getting too focused on the win.

"We will prepare this race similar to how we have done all season. We have a strong team in terms of the execution of races, in terms of strategy, in terms of the pitstops. We have two strong drivers and we will have a go again."

Norris, who managed to hold off Hamilton during their battles at the Italian Grand Prix, thinks things are not going to be as clear cut as they were heading in to the Monza race.

A fortnight ago, front row starter Daniel Ricciardo knew that if he could lead into the first corner then he had a good chance of the victory.

Norris says that there is greater uncertainty about what to expect in the battle at the front in Sochi, especially because of more limited running due to Saturday practice being a washout.

"I think it's definitely harder to give a clear answer than in Monza, because everyone was doing quite different things on Friday," he said.

"Some people were trying to treat P2 as P3 and some were treating P2 as P2. So understanding everyone's actual pace is not as clear as what it was in Monza.

"I think we have a few more unknowns in a way but we will do our homework and review everything from testing , and see what we can do."

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

But although unsure about how things will play out, Norris said he was up for the fight if Hamilton charged forward.

"I guess Daniel was a lot more positive and confident of it last time out: he said he's going to go out and get a win and he did. So maybe I need to change my approach a little bit more.

"Normally I'm more downbeat, and if it turns out positive, then it's better, rather than thinking positively and coming up with a negative in a way. So I'll try my best, and I'll go for it.

"I believe we can; there's an opportunity for it, but Mercedes are still as quick as they have been all season. This is probably one of their best circuits of the whole season, so it's going to be a good challenge. But I'm up for it."

shares
comments
Russell shows Williams 'not as bad as people think' - Verstappen
Previous article

Russell shows Williams 'not as bad as people think' - Verstappen

Next article

The Russian GP as it happened

The Russian GP as it happened
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022