McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl believes his team should not expect consistent battles for the podium, even though Lando Norris was able to fight Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on merit during the Austrian Grand Prix.
It was Norris' third podium of the year as he continued to impress and has played a major role to keep McLaren in third place in the Constructors' Championship after nine F1 rounds.
“I think we need to be realistic, it was a track that suits our car," Seidl explained to RacingNews365.com and other select members of the press.
“What was good to see is that I think, compared to last weekend, with the upgrades we brought and with the fine-tuning we did with the set-up as well, we definitely made a step forward in terms of performance, both in qualifying and in the race.
“That allowed us to be in a position today to battle some of the top cars. But I don’t know exactly [know] which issues for example Mercedes had or Lewis had, which gave us a chance to then score a podium purely down to our own performance, which is great.”
The long straights and high speed corners at the Red Bull Ring favoured the characteristics of McLaren's 2021 machine. They were strong in Austria in 2020 too with Norris taking his maiden F1 podium, so Seidl thinks a return to normality can be expected at Silverstone and Budapest.
"There’s no point to see things that aren’t there,” said Seidl. You need to be realistic and, if you see the race for example last weekend and we’re here at the same track one weekend later, then we had no chance to battle these four cars. There was a huge gap.
"We knew that we would have a better car compared to Styria, but we couldn’t expect that we could actually fight them like that. At the same time, we don’t know which problems they experienced, especially Mercedes.
“We know exactly where we stand as a team, we know what the deficit is. We know what the deficit also still is at the team’s side in terms of infrastructure and so on. so it’s not a surprise that we are where we are.
“We are on a journey. We have a clear plan of how we want to reduce this deficit and that takes some years, but the good thing is we make steps.
“We’re ambitious, but there is no magic and I simply think it’s always good to have a sense of realism, and not get carried away with results like Austria, which are great and give good energy to the team.
“But it doesn’t change the picture, the realistic picture we have in terms of where we are."