While Max Verstappen and Red Bull dominated at the British Grand Prix, they were not the biggest headlines. Those belonged to Lando Norris and McLaren as they came from nowhere to take second in both the qualifying and the race itself. Most F1 predictions did not have either Norris or McLaren finishing on the podium. So is this upset merely a one-off or a sign of things to come?
How Norris, McLaren Conquered British GP
Except for Verstappen, Norris beat everyone at Silverstone. The young Briton was at 50-1 to win the race prior to qualifying and as long as 10-1 to finish on the podium. But after he and Oskar Piastri finished behind Verstappen, the Las Vegas F1 odds quickly took note.
“I just want to say a big thanks first of all to the whole team,” Norris said during the post-race interview. “They’ve done an amazing job and none of this would be possible without the hard work that they’ve been putting in. It’s pretty amazing, pretty insane.”
Indeed, McLaren leaped past Mercedes, Aston Martin, and Ferrari almost overnight. The constructor was a distant fifth place in the standings and never had both drivers finish in the top six. Piastri narrowly missed the third spot, which Lewis Hamilton took, because of a safety car.
“Honestly, we should have had a P2 and P3, Oscar did an amazing job all weekend and he should have been P3 today without the Safety Car, so a shame,” Norris commented on his teammate’s performance. “He deserved it, but the fans are amazing, so a big thanks to all of them.”
This great F1 news is not without some salt. For one, the FIA has penalized the team with a €1,000 fine for Norris’s pit lane incident at the start of final practice. Thankfully, it did not factor in the race and others like Hamilton are left starstruck seeing McLaren’s result.
“Those McLarens have just come from nowhere, so we don’t really know what to think,” Hamilton said after the race.
Indeed, McLaren’s stunning results have turned heads and maybe inadvertently even put a target on their backs. It would be curious to see how the online sports betting lines shift.
IT’S BACK! 😍
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) July 9, 2023
Fools’ Gold or Dark Horse? Where McLaren Stands
At this point in the 2023 F1 season, there is no catching Verstappen or Red Bull. They have been dominant since the start and what’s worth betting online now is who finishes behind them. Most F1 picks now lean towards Mercedes as they continue to grow their lead over Aston Martin. Ferrari is behind, with McLaren trailing quite a ways away.
But the 30 points McLaren collected was more than half of what they got in the first nine races. It was a significant improvement for the struggling constructor. This is mainly due to the upgrades the team installed coupled with sharp strategizing regarding the new Pirelli tires for the British GP.
“I hope it’s a one-off, but they were quick in Austria as well, which is a totally different circuit,” Hamilton said regarding McLaren’s results. “Regardless, it’s very impressive what they’ve done. Even so, I thought their strategy was the wrong strategy, going on the hards…”
Hamilton went as far as comparing McLaren’s new MCL60 to the RB19. It’s similar to Sergio Perez, Verstappen’s running mate, commenting on Aston Martin looking like a Red Bull early in the season.
Aston Martin also had a surprising finish in Bahrain, with Fernando Alonso finishing third and Lance Stroll taking sixth. And two races later in Australia, the constructor finished third and fourth. But since then, Aston Martin has lost steam and is now 22 points behind Mercedes for second.
McLaren’s new upgrades make them a contender for now. Hungary and Belgium will be litmus tests to see if the orange team can stay as good as Britain or if it was a one-off.