McLaren against Ferrari, the duel repeats itself. After the battle a week ago in Singapore, with Carlos Sainz Jr. getting the better of Lando Norris, Suzuka proposes the clash between the two teams again at the Japanese Grand Prix.
If the two factions were competing for victory in Marina Bay, this time the duel seems limited to second place. Suzuka is a demanding track for the tires due to the lateral and vertical loads to which it subjects them. This means that degradation will be one of the fundamental aspects for doing well in the race.
Meanwhile, on the flying lap Lando Norris managed to get close to Charles Leclerc (just 144 thousandths away from the Monegasque), Ferrari’s best driver at the end of the day behind only – and once again uncatchable – Max Verstappen. A good start to the weekend for McLaren in both the qualifying and race simulations.
“I would say that race pace and tire degradation will be the keys to the weekend, Norris told Sky Sport. “But I think it will be a more complex race than Singapore in these respects.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
“The race pace has returned to being quite good. We are not suffering from these points of view. But there will be many competitive teams. We need to understand in the long runs with the hard tires how we will be compared to the others”.
During the second free practice session of the Japanese Grand Prix it already seemed clear that McLaren and Ferrari could be fighting for first position behind Max Verstappen. Sergio Perez is very far from his teammate both on the flying lap and on the race pace, while the Mercedes seem very distant from the best, having worsened compared to the good performances offered in Singapore.
“I think it’s quite normal. We often managed to worry Perez and not Max. Things often go this way. Red Bull will be very fast in qualifying and, as always, strong in the race.”
“Max will probably win everything, but there will be a good battle for second position. We and Ferrari will fight. If we manage to improve further it will be a very good thing for us”, concluded the McLaren driver.