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McLaren lock out third row, but baffled by own pace

McLaren lock out third row, but baffled by own pace

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McLaren lock out third row, but baffled by own pace

McLaren lock out third row, but baffled by own pace

Lando Norris admitted that McLaren were as surprised as anyone after a brilliant qualifying performance which saw them lock out the third row of the grid. Norris will start Sunday's race at Paul Ricard in fifth, with team-mate Carlos Sainz alongside him in sixth.

McLaren saw a promising Canadian GP fall apart as Norris' rear brakes melted his axle and Sainz had his strategy ruined when a tear-off visor from another driver got stuck in his brakes and caused them to overheat.

However, they have been quite clearly the fourth fastest team in Le Castellet, even pushing Red bull close in the practice sessions, before qualifying ahead of Pierre Gasly and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"We have come into here thinking some of the corners are a bit like China, where we were pretty average," Norris told Sky Sports. "We weren't expecting anything at all to be honest.

"We were thinking this was going to be a very tough one and it's turned out to be better than we ever would have expected."

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Renault's Daniel Ricciardo joked that McLaren must have brought a "secret upgrade" to France, but Norris said the team were still searching for the cause of their pace.

"It's something we need to look into. We were very quick straight away in P1 which was kind of worrying for us because it was too good, almost.

"We were like, 'everyone else must be high on fuel or whatever'. But we've managed to continue it all the way through the weekend. So it has been good, but it's just this weekend.

"We can go into Austria [next weekend] and we might not be in Q3, so it's very track specific and this one seems to be suiting the car. So we need to make sure it always happens.

"I've heard rumours now that Renault say we have a secret upgrade. I wish we did - because we'd be even quicker if we were now!"

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