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Andrea Stella

McLaren convinced over 'good chance' of sprint victory

McLaren locked out second and third on the grid for Saturday's Austrian Grand Prix sprint race.

Norris FP1 Austria
To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella believes his outfit has a "good chance" of winning the Austrian Grand Prix sprint race, despite Max Verstappen claiming pole position. 

Lando Norris fell just under one-tenth of a second short of defeating Verstappen to the fastest lap of the session.

Norris secured second on the grid ahead of team-mate Oscar Piastri in third, making a competitive day for McLaren.

It was a busy sprint qualifying session with yellow flags and an abundance of traffic which impacted McLaren's potential, leaving Stella somewhat confident ahead of the sprint race. 

"We certainly gave our best," Stella told Sky F1. "

In a way, it was a tricky qualifying session because it wasn't easy to deliver the lap, yellow flags, there was always a little bit of fight to find the right position on the out laps, so it wasn't the easiest one, but we are happy with his result.

"Like always, Max seems to find good performance, and we have a lot of respect for that, to be honest. He does a good job, and the whole team at Red Bull.

"But it's good we are there, and we have a good chance for tomorrow."

Sprint race tyre decision

Looking ahead to the sprint race, there is a considerable amount for McLaren to decide prior to the outing. 

One aspect the Woking-based team has to address is what tyres they use in the 100 km race, and whether they want to use a completely new set. 

Sprint races tend to see a variety of compounds and age of rubber, which is just one of the variables for Stella's outfit to consider. 

Regardless of the tyres Piastri and Norris use, the team boss believes moving forward in the race is on the cards.

"In terms of data, in the sprint quali itself, we definitely see Lando and Oscar have opportunities to improve," added Stella. 

"Not all corners were as perfect as you would like them to be in qualifying. In terms of the sprint race, it will depend a bit on the temperature - overcast, sunshine - because it will affect degradation a little, and also it will depend a bit on what people would like to do in terms of using the tyres towards the sprint. 

"Do you want to use a new tyre, or a used tyre, in the sprint, for instance? So there are many variables. 

"I think we are in a good position, not because of what we learned [in practice] because there wasn't too much running, but more based on how we have been doing so far this season."

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