“We drive for ourselves and not for anyone else”– McLaren boss Andreas Seidl responds to Helmut Marko’s accusations after the qualifying.
McLaren didn’t have a good outing on Saturday, as their two drivers– Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo secured a P7 and P16 grid position for Sunday.
It would feel bitter as it could jeopardise their marginal lead at the third position. Still, to rub the salt on their wounded backs, Helmut Marko blamed Norris for Max Verstappen’s failed qualifying, as he finished P3, an underwhelming result for the Milton Keynes based team.
“Of course it’s frustrating when you set the fastest time. But in Turn 4 [on his first run] he got a gust of wind from behind and it took him out. He lost time because of it, not gained,” said Marko to Servus TV.
“Then on the second run, Lando Norris got told not to do Max any favours. Very sporting of the Mercedes squad. And then with [Seb] Vettel, of course, he was busy with the car, that he keeps it on the road. It was a bit unfortunate.”
We don’t care
McLaren’s team principal responded aggressively to Marko’s complaints by clearly saying that they race for themselves and would not look at their interests.
“I guess it’s normal that, like everyone is doing, and Max was no different, you don’t want to give anyone a tow, because it’s a benefit for the other car. Qualifying is about doing the lap time yourself without the help of anyone else,” said Seidl.
“And I think this radio call probably they are referring to…when you look at what everyone did on the main straight, after finishing the lap, you just tried to get out of the way, out of the slipstream, to make sure that everyone can do his lap himself, and without additional help.”
I was far-right
Meanwhile, even Norris came onto defend himself and clearly said that he interpreted his team’s message not to give Verstappen any slipstream, and he was already quite far from him.
“I’ve no idea what I did wrong,” said Norris when asked about Verstappen’s complaints. “I was sure I was quite far ahead of him, and then, when I let him pass, I was completely on the right, on like the opposite side of the track, in second gear as slow as I can go.
“So I tried the best I could to get out of the way from him. I didn’t want to impede him or anything like that. But I’ve not heard or seen what’s been said. I didn’t block him or do anything like that. I was never that close.”