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McLaren

Stoddie Straight: Norris win around the corner

RacingNews365's expert columnist, former Formula 1 Team Principal Paul Stoddart believes McLaren can secure a victory before the end of the season

Norris US
Column
To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

For Max to come through from sixth and win it the way he did, I don't think it was as close as what it showed on TV.

Realistically, I think if Lewis had got anywhere near DRS, you would have found Max had more in the car to give.

He was obviously struggling with the brakes, so therefore, it's not going to be pushing as hard as he would if he felt comfortable, but I am sure if they suddenly came on the radio and said 'Lewis is 1.2 seconds behind', you would have found that Max upped his game and I am quite sure Max had reserve in that car if he had needed it.

It was a brilliant drive, you can't take anything away from him. It is not inconceivable that by the end of this season, with four races left, we're going to see a situation where Max is third in line for the all-time race wins.

He has only got one to go to equal Alain Prost and three to go to get to Sebastian Vettel, so he is in a fantastic car, a fantastic space within himself, driving as good as any driver has ever driven - arguably better.

It is quite conceivable that he will finish this year equal with Vettel on 53 wins and maybe he will have 54, who knows?

I think Mercedes is heading in the right direction finally, and I say finally because they spent two years messing around but McLaren is constantly producing a car, week-in and week-out and not so track-dependent... Lando is down on his chances for a race win for the rest of the year, but you wouldn't put it past them.

"They're certainly the top two teams and sadly Aston had the worst weekend of the year, despite Stroll getting points, it was still a pretty tough weekend. For Fernando to have to go back to the old-spec car tells you that he didn't have any faith in the upgrades, but there's a reason for that.

Whilst there are people in favour of Sprint races and people not in favour, what it does do - and it showed really clearly this weekend - is that if you bring upgrades to a car and don't have anything other than FP1 to test them, then you can be where Aston were, where the upgrades haven't worked, you haven't had enough time to sort them out.

Then you end up in a situation where you actually go backwards. That's exactly what happened to Aston. I can see where they were struggling but I guess it's the same for everyone.

Mercedes and McLaren do seem the best of the rest, Ferrari don't help themselves with strategy. They seem to still be undecided on what to do in a race and the race pace is not always great.

So I think out of the three cars - Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren - clearly Mercedes and McLaren are doing a better job than Ferrari.

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying