McLaren celebrated their first 1-2 finish since the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix, as Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris took the second and third places respectively at the Qatar Grand Prix on Monday 9th October 2023. The team’s performance was even more impressive considering that they had started from sixth and tenth on the grid, and had to fight their way through the field.
The race was dominated by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who led from start to finish and extended his lead in the drivers’ championship to 28 points over Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who finished fourth after a 10-second penalty for ignoring yellow flags. Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez was fifth, followed by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz in sixth and seventh.
McLaren’s result was a huge boost for their hopes of securing third place in the constructors’ championship, as they moved 19 points clear of Ferrari with three races to go. The team has shown remarkable progress this season, with Norris scoring four podiums and Piastri claiming his maiden podium in his rookie year.
The team’s success was also a testament to their resilience and teamwork, as they had to overcome some difficulties in the previous races. In Italy, Norris missed out on a potential win after a late rain shower, while Piastri crashed out of the race. In Singapore, Norris finished second behind Verstappen, but Piastri struggled with tyre degradation and ended up seventh. In Japan, both drivers were on the podium, but Norris lost second place to Hamilton on the final lap.
McLaren’s team principal Andreas Seidl praised his drivers and crew for their performance in Qatar, saying: “It’s an incredible achievement for the whole team here at the track and back home in Woking. To score a double podium after starting P6 and P10 is something we can be very proud of. Both Oscar and Lando drove superb races, managing their tyres well and making some great overtakes. The pit crew also did an excellent job with two flawless stops. This result is a reward for all the hard work and dedication that everyone in the team has put in this season.”
McLaren will be hoping to continue their momentum in the next race in Saudi Arabia, where they will face another challenge from Ferrari and Mercedes. The team has not won a race since 2012, but they have shown that they are capable of fighting at the front. With three races left, McLaren will be aiming to secure their best finish in the constructors’ championship since 2012, when they were third behind Red Bull and Ferrari.