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MPH: McLaren has a winning F1 car. Now it needs the Red Bull mentality

MPH: McLaren has a winning F1 car. Now it needs the Red Bull mentality
MPH: McLaren has a winning F1 car. Now it needs the Red Bull mentality

Both the team and Norris himself are gaining importance as the strength of Red Bull and Verstappen becomes clear. Red Bull is now appearing on the tracks and believes that it could have the fastest car of the weekend, but maybe not. Just like McLaren. The difference will be which of the two gets everything out of the car. “It’s important not to overreact,” Norris continued. “There are tiny little things that need to be sorted out as a team. But a lot of it is already where it needs to be. We are racing against one of the best drivers ever in F1, one of the best performing teams in F1. Everything has to be executed perfectly and that one thing that didn’t work out last week cost us the win…”

It’s about fine-tuning calmly, focusing on the tiny operational differences and analysing the shortcomings in the critical areas in more detail. In Montreal, the immediate need to reassess the priority of a strategic decision in favour of the Safety Car came a few seconds too late. Is there something procedural in the communication that can be improved? Is there something in the feel of the clutch paddles that could have made the difference at the start in Spain? Something in the software? Is the tyre preparation correct?

Verstappen receives a large number of direct instructions via the drivers’ radios. It is as if these are the subtleties that have been perfected over the years to be able to ride at the front. Just like the numerous training starts that Verstappen completed here in Austria a few years ago.

Max Verstappen leads the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Lando NorrisMax Verstappen leads the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix ahead of Lando Norris

Thanks to a perfect approach, Verstappen stayed ahead of the rapid Norris

Mar Thompson/Getty via Red Bull

It’s a challenge to keep calm and focused when the excitement of winning regularly is so tantalizingly close. The game becomes more serious when the car is fast enough. “Yes, it’s definitely a bit more nervous,” Lando admits, “but if you compare my radio from Sochi 2021 to today’s, it’s completely different. Last week it would have been easy to panic, attack George (Russell) and push us off or cover the others during the stops. I know we’ve been criticised for that, but only by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Control, make winning a routine, get everyone in the right mental frame of mind. That’s a nice challenge.

“You’re just hungrier to win and therefore more disappointed when you don’t win. It means something more to you. It’s what you’ve dreamed of since you were a kid.”

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