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McLaren and rivals 'surprised' by Lando Norris' pace in second-place finish at British Grand Prix

Lando Norris finished second and Oscar Piastri in fourth for McLaren at the British Grand Prix; the result delivered a first podium of the season for McLaren and saw them impressively outpace Mercedes and Ferrari at Silverstone

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Highlights from the British GP at Silverstone, as Max Verstappen secured a sixth consecutive race win

McLaren "surprised" themselves with the impressive race pace that enabled Lando Norris to seal second at the British Grand Prix, team principal Andrea Stella has admitted after their Silverstone showing.

McLaren caused a shock on Saturday as Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri took advantage of the team's heavily upgraded car to qualify second and third, respectively, behind world championship leader Max Verstappen.

However, scepticism had remained over whether McLaren would be able to maintain that pace over race distance, with many expecting the Ferrari and Mercedes cars lined up directly behind them on the grid to be quicker.

That was quickly disproved as Norris, who held the lead for the opening few laps after beating Verstappen off the line, and Piastri were able to pull away from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fourth.

Piastri was hugely unfortunate to lose third to Lewis Hamilton as the Brit was able to pit under a Safety Car, but the rookie took a career-best fourth, while Norris impressively held off the Mercedes to take second.

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McLaren boss Zak Brown was thrilled after Lando Norris finished second and Oscar Piastri came fourth at the British Grand Prix

"Well clearly the indications from the race are quite encouraging," Stella said.

"We were surprised ourselves in the first stint to be able to keep our competitors like Ferrari and Mercedes behind, we thought they would be a problem for us in terms of pace.

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"So I think we have to acknowledge that the improvement seems to be genuine here in terms of race pace."

Stella 'hopes Russell is right' about McLaren speed

McLaren had first brought the first stage of their latest package of upgrades to last weekend's Austrian Grand Prix, but only had enough parts for Norris' car.

The Brit took full advantage to take fourth in Spielberg, which has convinced Mercedes driver George Russell, who finished fifth at Silverstone, that their improvements will show at various circuits.

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McLaren's Lando Norris was in positive spirits after finishing second in his home race at Silverstone

"Those McLarens have just come from nowhere, so I don't really know what to think," Russell said.

"I hope it's a one-off, but they were quick in Austria as well, which is a totally different circuit. Regardless, it's very impressive what they've done."

Stella, who took over as McLaren team principal at the start of the season and has overseen major changes to their leadership structure, is remaining cautious over their prospects.

"When it comes to whether this improvement will manifest itself in the future, even if George says that the tracks are different, actually I think there are significant elements of commonality between Austria and Silverstone," he said.

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Lando Norris leads the British GP after the opening lap, having overtaken Max Verstappen

"Especially, there's a high density of corners in which we know that our car performs well. And conditions like today, they do help, because they don't overheat the tyres, which is also something on which we have some work to do."

But, with a smile, he added: "I hope George's right, by the way."

Piastri, who was still driving with a slightly less updated specification than Norris, also admitted he had feared the McLarens could go backwards during the race.

"So clearly the upgrades are a massive step forward," Piastri said. "I think they're a good step forward over one lap. But the race pace is clearly where we've made a massive jump.

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McLaren's Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri face each other in an Ashes-inspired cricket match

"I think going into the race, I was maybe slightly cautious that we might hit reverse a little bit like we have done previously, but if anything, it was even stronger than Austria, so that was super exciting.

"Yeah, it hurts a little bit to be P4, when we were looking on for a podium for so long and a bit unlucky with the Safety Car timing, but I'm just so happy that I'm disappointed with fourth place instead of what we've been disappointed with earlier in the season."

Wolff: I was convinced we would be eating up McLarens

The Safety Car threatened to derail their brilliant weekend as Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton jumped to third, and a questionable McLaren decision to put hard tyres on Norris' car for the final stint left him exposed to the seven-time world champion.

However, Norris produced an incredible display of defence to hold off Hamilton, on soft tyres, at the rolling restart, before eventually pulling clear.

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Lewis Hamilton and George Russell were left hugely impressed by the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, following the British GP at Silverstone

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted after the race that he had expected his cars to be "eating up" the McLarens in the closing stages.

"To be honest, when the Safety Car was deployed, I was really sure if not convinced that we would be eating up the McLarens and finish with a P2 and P3, or maybe even challenge for the front.

"So you see just how strong their car was. We could have had a go in the first few laps, but they both raced very strong, and with their efficiency and top speed through the high-speed corners and on the straights, there was just no way of passing them.

"So that came as a surprise."

Hamlton: I had no idea how strong they were

Hamilton also revealed he had expected it to be "difficult" for Norris to keep him at bay at the restart.

"I mean, just knowing what it's like to be on the hards on the restart at the end with someone on the softs behind, I knew that it would be difficult," the Mercedes driver said.

"I hadn't obviously had any running with a McLaren so I had no idea how strong they were earlier on in the stint, or in the race.

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Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton treated the Silverstone crowd to an epic battle, following the Safety Car

"So it wasn't until that moment that I started to see some of their strengths and them get stronger and stronger over the laps.

"I threw it up the inside and I tried to get past but we have a little bit more drag down the straights and then through the high speed, as I mentioned, that's where they were just murdering us."

Verstappen, the only driver able to live with the pace of the McLarens at Silverstone as he extended his world championship lead to 99 points, was also impressed.

After Norris beat the Dutchman off the line, Verstappen couldn't get back past the McLaren until DRS was enabled, and even after that failed to pull away at the same rate as he has done against other cars on multiple occasions this season.

"Everything was working quite well but it was still quite surprising to see that the McLaren was actually that quick, or Lando was that quick, over the whole stint," Verstappen said.

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