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As its 2021 midfield rival Ferrari competes for wins again, McLaren has taken a step backwards in 2022, heading into the summer break in fifth position in the constructors' championship behind Alpine.
The Enstone squad, with which McLaren is now also involved in an off-track tussle over Oscar Piastri's services, has generally had the measure of its Woking rivals across F1 2022's first batch of 13 grands prix.
But as McLaren is struggling to keep up with Alpine and F1's three top teams over a race distance, the team's leading driver Lando Norris has qualified particularly well in recent races.
Norris qualified fourth in Hungary, three tenths ahead of both Alpine cars, following a fifth place start in France and sixth on the grid in Britain - beating one of the Mercedes cars on both occasions.
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threatens Daniel Ricciardo in Formula 1? If it goes to Ralf Schumacher, the Australian no longer sits in the McLaren cockpit after the summer break. © provided by Sport1.de Is Ricciardo threatened the Formula 1 out? The rumors about an early Formula 1 out of Daniel Ricciardo continue to pick up speed. At the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Australian in the McLaren landed in the surprising victory of Max Verstappen only in the disappointing 15th place - the next setback for the veteran.
When asked why McLaren manages to perform strongly in qualifying only to fall back during the race, Seidl explained qualifying can mask some of the car's deficits as it manages to extract the most from the Pirelli tyres over one lap.
"I think in general if we compare our competitiveness in quali compared to the race, I guess in quali the deficits our car in the end still has to these top three cars. I would say mainly on the downforce side, obviously, you can mask quite a lot with the grip tyres are having on one lap in qualifying," he explained.
"But then over the race distance the lack of performance or downforce is obviously eating into the tyres. And I guess that's why you then see the bigger gap over the race distance." © Autosport.com Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
Driver ratings for the Hungarian Grand Prix
Check out our driver ratings for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Max Verstappen took an even firmer grip on the 2022 World Championship.It was a race when both before and during, the identity of the winner was up for much discussion as Mercedes produced another compelling argument that they are ready to challenge Red Bull and Ferrari on a regular basis.
Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images
McLaren trails Alpine by just four points going into the summer break, largely thanks to Norris' 76-point haul which places the Briton seventh and best of the rest in the drivers' championship.
Seidl said McLaren's recent upgrades have helped keep it in the fight for fourth in the standings, although he acknowledged the three top teams are still miles away even if McLaren can occasionally beat a Mercedes in qualifying.
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"In terms of race pace, I guess compared to Alpine for example, we were in good position [in Hungary]. Definitely in a better position compared to the previous weekend in [France]," he added.
"I think thanks to the upgrade that we brought to France, which we further optimised for here in terms of usage, thanks to the work the team has also put in in terms of learning from what we have seen in Paul Ricard, I guess we made a good step forward here.
"Now it's simply important to keep going and keep further improving the car because when you see the lap time difference, which is still there also in qualifying, it is clear that [the top teams] simply have a much stronger car."
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