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Andrea Stella

McLaren podium 'disappointment' a 'testament' to staggering recovery – Stella

So near yet so far but the disappointment felt underlines how far McLaren has come in such a short period.

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Andrea Stella has conceded there "disappointment" felt in only finishing second in the Canadian Grand Prix was "a testament" to how far McLaren has come over the past year. 

Lando Norris briefly led the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve but lost the lead after pitting two laps later than Max Verstappen for fresh tyres. Norris lost time behind a safety car following a crash involving Williams' Logan Sargeant. 

The McLaren driver almost lost second in the closing stages, but Mercedes' George Russell was arguably a lap shy of making a possible move that could have netted him the runner-up position. 

Despite this, McLaren was again quick in wet and dry conditions, underlining it is now a podium contender for every race. Having been last at the start of 2023, it has been on some journey.

"Yeah, I think you're right," Stella told select media including RacingNews365, when it was pointed out he was downbeat despite Norris finishing on the podium. 

"And this little disappointment for a victory that was possible is a testament to the fact the team has come a long way, and we are now regular podium contenders, or at times even victory contenders. 

"At the same time, I look at the positives, and there are many, certainly the team has been consistent in being competitive, despite the variation of track conditions and so on, which is something you never can take for granted. 

"And you don't gain any credit because you've been like this in the past. Every race weekend, you have to gain your money."

Need car improvements

Whilst capable of claiming regular podiums underlines the progress made, McLaren is not at the level of being able to win purely on "outright performance". 

Stella recognises this and knows further improvements to the MCL38 are required for McLaren to be in a position where they can win based on its pace, rather than other factors like safety cars.

"Ideally, we should make the car a little faster, and then in a condition to chase the victory independent of the conditions on track or the track characteristics," added Stella. 

"Because we have to say that when we were in dry conditions, Mercedes was faster than us. 

"So we're still not in a position where we can gain the victory from outright performance."

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