Norris: Alpine did ‘very bad job’ with better F1

McLaren driver Lando Norris believes rival team Alpine have done a “pretty poor job” of “being right ahead of us” in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

Alpine are 24 points clear of McLaren in the fight for fourth in the team standings and have not been edged out by their rival since the Monaco Grand Prix in late May.

The works Renault team scored twice McLaren’s points during this period, helped by its two drivers Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon being almost always present in the top 10 while only Norris scored regularly for McLaren.

Over the course of the season, Alpine holds a narrow qualifying advantage over McLaren, which is 0.131% further from the ultimate pace – although this reduces to almost nothing when only dry sessions are compared.

But Norris believes Alpine has had higher highs and greater consistency than McLaren, only to be let down by other weaknesses, which is why the team have only recently started to tighten their grip on fourth. square.

“Alpine has been ahead of us since day one of the season,” Norris said.

“Like, really, we have been ahead of us. There are maybe three or four races this season where we could have been a bit faster than them.

“Otherwise, through the majority and quite easily the majority, they’ve been a better car.

“So for them to be right ahead of us in the championship is more that we did a really good job, and they did a really bad job.

“When you see the qualifying margins from them to us sometimes, their race pace to us sometimes, it’s never really the other way around.

“They have a better car, they just did a worse job throughout the season and made more mistakes, things like that – they had more problems with the car, whatever.

“Fernando in Australia was on what, P2 or P3 in qualifying? And we were miles away. So they had a better car, pretty much all season.

“We did a better job with the car we had this year. Now they are fixing a few more issues and problems and may have also improved the car a bit more than us and taken a few more steps.

Fernando Alonso Alpine F1

Alpine’s wastefulness is something Alonso has pointed out regularly this season and he claimed again on Thursday that reliability issues cost him around 40-50 points.

But Alpine has definitely produced a faster and more consistent car than McLaren, and has been aggressive with the number of upgrades it has, while McLaren has focused on two major packages and then minor developments during other races.

Alpine seems to have been more efficient in its evolutions and its reward should be a better result in the championship since 2018.

Jumping McLaren into midfield is a significant achievement for Alpine given that McLaren have finished in the top four for the past three seasons, while Alpine have lost their way.

And this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix could be a stark example of Alpine’s progress from last season and McLaren’s regression, given Monza was the scene of a shock McLaren one-two in 2021.

Lando Norris McLaren F1

“In general we’re not as competitive compared to last season,” said Norris, who downplayed even the fight for a podium this weekend.

“Also, everyone has taken good steps forward, like Alpine.

“Competition is tough right now. Ferrari is also one step ahead of us. It is therefore two more cars that must be cleared if we want to get back on the podium.

“I don’t know, I think we will still try to give everything. I think we don’t go into races thinking ‘this is where we were at last year, we should be doing the exact same thing’.

“Personally, I think Zandvoort has been much better for us this year than last year. So some things are definitely better.

“But it’s obvious, we didn’t have as many podiums and good qualifying as last year.

“It’s just because the balance of the car throughout the season hasn’t been as good.”

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