McLaren gets nose operated on bumpy start for Sainz

In Sochi they recover the Mugello nose and a new front wing. You can stay all weekend. Bottas, fastest in Free Practice 1.


McLaren recovered in Russia the new nose (or nose, as it is called in English) that it tested in Mugello, in the style of Mercedes although with original features, and incorporates a new front wing. Everything was tested in free practice, in the first session Lando Norris rode it while Carlos Sainz used the old specification to compare the data. At night they will decide if the parts remain for the rest of the weekend, because there is a clear limitation of spare parts in a season with so many logistical complications.

Confirmed by Andreas Seidl, in the morning, in Sochi. "The goal in bringing an evolution is for it to work as you expect and to use it throughout the weekend. It is a logistical challenge to produce enough parts to carry all weekend. We must evaluate the performance of the latest evolution and at night we will take a decision before wearing it or not the rest of the weekend, "says the German engineer. Regarding the improvement it can bring them, he is prudent: "There are expectations from what we have seen in the simulations. I will not say the numbers, because the only thing that matters is the lap time." "We have numbers, but they are not to communicate them. Still", it closes.

In any case, it was not the dream start for the Woking team: Sainz had a minor accident that caused a virtual safety car when he lost control of the MCL35 at Turn 7 and hit the tire barrier. The rear end was damaged, its wing was hanging, and the session was ruined, although there is room to straighten it.

The incident split practice in two, followed by serious attempts at a fast lap on the soft tire by most riders and, logically, the Madrilenian missed it. Then came the red flag for a similar but stronger accident by Nicholas Latifi, which damaged the Williams and embedded it in the guards. There were indeed constant errors and unusual braking passes on a Friday morning, probably due to the dirt on a track with little use. Hamilton smashed a set of hard tires and Bottas smashed a middle one.

The Finn was the fastest of the session, half a second ahead of Ricciardo and six tenths over Verstappen. The Dutchman has already warned that Red Bull would have problems on a circuit where they can barely make a difference with the middle class. Renault stomps for the podium in 2020, Racing Point is close and McLaren may arrive, the times so far are not binding. Pérez was two tenths faster than Stroll with a significantly lower aerodynamic package than his partner. Sainz was 12th, but without soft tires, and Norris 13th, two seconds behind the head. A curiosity: Hamilton finished 19th, penultimate, because he followed an alternative work program.

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