McLaren F1: 2021 season review (2023)

McLaren has had a steep upward trend ever since Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz joined the team in 2018. The duo took the British constructor from P6 in 2018 to P4 in 2019 and then to P3 in 2020 in the standings. While the team fought hard to defend their place in 2021, they lost their position to Ferrari by 48.5 points.

Only one team managed a 1-2 finish in 2021Take a bow @McLarenF1 @danielricciardo @LandoNorris 👏

The team may have lost their midfield battle and finished the season in P4 in the constructors' standings. They were, however, the only team this season to have scored a 1-2. Daniel Ricciardo took his eighth win, and his first with McLaren, in Monza, with Lando Norris behind him in P2. The Briton held the P5 in the driver's standings for a long time. He, however, lost it out to Charles Leclerc in Saudi Arabia and then to Carlos Sainz in Abu Dhabi, where Norris had a real opportunity to regain the position. Daniel Ricciardo ended his first season with the team in P8 behind his team-mate and both Ferraris.

Stats and information

  • Team: McLaren F1 Team
  • Team Principal: Andreas Seidl
  • Points: 275
  • Wins: 1
  • Laps Led: 79
  • Podiums: 5
  • Pole Positions: 1

What went right for McLaren in the 2021 F1 season?

The eight-time constructors’ champions had an undeniably mixed season with a visibly stronger first half of the year. Despite losing their third place in the standings to Ferrari, they deserve credit for putting out a car with the potential to win races, or at least be reasonably competitive. Their efforts were reflected in their total team points of 275, marking it their highest tally since 2012.

LETS GOOOOOOO! P3. What a race. Thank you @McLarenF1, awesome job

The season started on an absolute high for Lando Norris, who almost made it to P3 in Bahrain. The Briton then went on to take his first podium of the year in the very second race of the season at Imola, setting the team up for a positive season to look forward to. With Ricciardo finishing in P6, the team scored significant points at the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

LANDO: “I don’t know what to say. It’s always a dream to be on the podium here... It’s special. I’ll cherish it”#MonacoGP 🇲🇨 #F1

The 22-year-old took another podium at the Monaco Grand Prix in P3 behind former team-mate Carlos Sainz, an achievement that Norris described as "special."

SUPER LANDO! 🤩 It’s a podium for @LandoNorris at the #AustrianGP. What a drive. You deserve this, Lando! 🇦🇹

The Austrian Grand Prix marked the 10th race of the season. Thus far, Norris was the only driver on the grid to have finished on points consecutively in every race of the season. He then went on to take the third podium at the Red Bull Ring.

McLaren bagged 45 points at Monza - the highest points tally at a race weekend this season 💪#ItalianGP 🇮🇹 #F1

The victory at Monza was unquestionably the highlight of the season for McLaren, who took the top step of the podium for the first time since the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. A dramatic crash between the two title contenders, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, knocked both cars out of the race. This allowed the two McLarens to cross the checkered flag at impeccable pace. In turn, it gave them the boost of confidence they had been chasing for several years and a whopping 45 points from a single race weekend.

What a moment for @LandoNorris as he clinches the first pole position of his F1 career! 🎧 😊 🚀#RussianGP #F1
(Video) F1 2021: Season Review - McLaren F1 Team

McLaren took the momentum to the next race in Sochi and was set to deliver another glorious weekend for the team. Lando Norris showed unbelievable pace at the Russian Grand Prix, where he went on to take his maiden pole position on Saturday and led most of the race on Sunday. Despite the race results, this Grand Prix will be regarded as one of Norris' best, one that showed his true potential as a title contender for the years to come. Ricciardo finished in P4, bringing the team significant points in their battle against Ferrari.

What went wrong for McLaren in the 2021 F1 season?

Daniel Ricciardo joined McLaren in 2021. In his first year with the team, while he managed to win the race in Monza, he took a while to settle in with the new team and car. Norris had an upper hand against Ricciardo throughout the season and essentially carried the team on his shoulders as his team-mate finished 9 races outside of the points.

Before the rain brought late heartache for @LandoNorris in Sochi, he was driving superbly 🚀Jump onboard for the lap that gave him the DHL Fastest Lap Award in Russia 🏆DHL Fastest Lap > #MomentsThatDeliver

Possibly one of the most devastating moments for McLaren this season took place at the Sochi Autodrom. Lando Norris seemed set to take his maiden victory from pole position, leading from Lewis Hamilton. The race, however, came to a heartbreaking end for the McLaren driver. As the rain got stronger, most drivers chose to pit and go with the inters. Norris stayed out to hold off Hamilton and ended up losing the lead as he was simply unable to continue with the slicks, resulting in a disappointing P7.

His streak of 15 consecutive points finishes came to an early end in Hungary on Sunday And @LandoNorris was hugely frustrated by the lap one collision that ruined his race 💬⬇️#HungarianGP 🇭🇺 #F1

Just before going into the summer break, Norris lost his streak of 15 consecutive points finishes in Hungary. A collision with Valtteri Bottas knocked him out of the race. Additionally, Ricciardo failed to make it to Q1 in Hungary and finished the race in P11, meaning the team scored no points in this race weekend. This was a considerable setback in their battle for P3.

McLaren seemed to comfortably take P3 in the constructors' standings in the first half. With the Ferraris picking up in the second half of the season, it only became difficult for the British team to hold on to their position.

What to expect from McLaren in the 2022 F1 season?

It should not be taking a driver of Daniel Ricciardo's caliber as long as it has to settle in with a new team. Now that his first year with the team is complete, the Aussie is expected to be fighting for more wins in 2022 and contribute to team points at the same level as Lando Norris. The Briton has had possibly the most impressive season of his F1 career so far and is expected to take the momentum of this year into 2022.

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With new technical regulations and financial limitations coming in, the battles between the teams are expected to get tighter and more exhilarating. With this, the British team is expected to be fighting for the championship. Meanwhile, Lando Norris is anticipated to be the one to take the team back to its days of glory.

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