Hear from McLaren Formula 1 drivers Lando Norris, Oscar Piastri, and Team Principal Andrea Stella after the 2023 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Oscar is clipped going into Turn 2 at the start of the race. He avoids damage but drops a place to P11. Lando also loses a position, falling to P8. Lando battles off a challenge from Russell. The Mercedes driver had passed, but Lando pulled back ahead shortly after. Oscar pits on Lap 9 for Hards and returns P15. Lando follows a lap later, also taking Hards, and he rejoins the track in P13.
The Safety Car is deployed on Lap 11 with De Vries’ Alpha Tauri stranded on track, allowing those not yet pitted to take on fresh tyres. Oscar attempts to take P12 off Tsunoda at the restart and briefly gets ahead, but he can’t make it stick, and the Alpha Tauri driver reclaims the position.
Despite remaining within the DRS range, Lando had been stuck behind Hulkenberg in P11 since the Safety Car. He finally made his move on Lap 46, passing the Haas brilliantly at Turn 7. Hulkenberg continued falling down the order as his tyres fell off, and Oscar clambered ahead of him for P12 on Lap 48.
A good race. It was as good a result as I would get and the best we could achieve today. P9 doesn’t sound like a lot, but it was the best we could do now. We got a bit unlucky with the Safety Car happening just after we had pit. I then got stuck behind Hulkenberg, but we got a couple of points on the board, which is a solid result, plus we got some good things out of the new parts we bought to track. So, I’m happy with that, and we’ll try to improve again in Miami.
It was a shame to miss out on points by one spot, but we lacked a bit of pace in the middle of the race, so there wasn’t much more we could do. I’m happy I survived the weekend after being unwell, and we’ve got some really good learning in the bank. I learned a lot about the tyres in that race and how to manage them better, which will help us fight for points next time. Thanks to the team here and back at the factory for getting the upgrades out to us. It’s definitely helped. We will go again in Miami.
An interesting weekend in Azerbaijan with the new Sprint format. Our main objective for the weekend remained to prepare for the race: this was where the most points were available. The top four teams are a bit ahead, so the mission was to be at the head of the midfield. We achieved that thanks to the upgrades we fitted this weekend. Thanks to the team back at the factory and track for helping us bring these parts to the car. Over the next few races, we can verify how much of that is a genuine improvement and how much was track-specific.
Lando, once again, was rock solid. Another clean weekend brings us a couple of very useful points. We were highly impressed with Oscar too. He’s been unwell this weekend but managed to focus on the job and deliver a clean weekend with no mistakes. Thank you to our excellent medical staff for their continuous support throughout the weekend. We hope he’ll feel better in a few days when we start again in Miami.