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McLaren reveal factors behind podium run after ‘damage limitation’ forecast

McLaren was reserved over its expectations ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix before taking the runner-up spot with Lando Norris on race day.

Norris China
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has revealed the factors that contributed to Lando Norris' podium success in China.

Ahead of the sport's return to the Shanghai International Circuit, Stella detailed the event would be a “damage limitation” round for the Woking-based squad.

However, it showed strong pace throughout with Norris emerging fastest in sprint qualifying before taking second place in the grand prix.

It marked the 24-year-old's second visit to the podium in three races.

Stella has detailed several factors behind the Briton's strong pace, including the performance of the front tyres around the track.

“I think it's a circuit in which there wasn't much front limitation,” Stella told media including RacingNews365.

“Since we went to the wide tyres, China doesn't seem to be as difficult for the front tyres as it was in the past.

“At the same time, I think the conditions helped retain grip on the rear because the rear axle, especially [in the race], was not overheating.”

Post-sprint changes

Stella continued: “If we look at the sprint, we had a bit of overheating. Ferrari seemed to be more comfortable, Max had a huge advantage. I think you have these situations when there's degradation.

“But [the grand prix] was more under control. So I think we struggle a little bit more at from limited circuit and here it wasn’t. The rear axle was actually under control because of the cold conditions.

“So a little bit of a combination of factors, which helped the performance of our car.”

Stella added the new regulation of opening parc fermé conditions after the sprint race aided McLaren's race pace.

“I think also some tweaks we made to the set-up after the sprint, they did help the race pace, because we changed the car with a view to improve in the race pace, rather than qualifying,” he said.

“So we were actually surprised to see that still in qualifying we were decent.

“But it looks like it did help with the race. So multiple factors, not a single silver bullet.”

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