McLaren’s form improved in 2019, seeing them sail to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship and pick up their first podium finish in over five years. Here are all the facts and statistics from McLaren’s 2019 season!
McLaren were the most improved team of the 2019 season. With a refreshed line-up of Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris, the team strode to a largely unchallenged fourth in the Constructors’ Championship – their best placing since 2012. They were firmly best of the rest in 2019, scoring 54 more points than nearest rivals, and engine partner, Renault. Between them, Sainz and Norris amassed just 23 points less than the team have scored in the past three seasons combined.
Their mix of experience and youth proved to be a well-matched partnership, with Norris out-qualifying Sainz (11-10 in Norris’ favour), and Sainz showing his experience by finishing ahead more often than not in the Grands Prix (8-4 in Sainz’s favour, in the races which both cars finished). Of the last fourteen races, Belgium and Mexico were the only ones at which McLaren failed to pick up a point.
There were still things to work on though. Both drivers complained at times with driveability issues, and between them they recorded ten non-finishes, including four in the first five races. It made them the team to have completed the second fewest laps over the course of the season, ahead of only Haas.
McLaren secured fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship with Sainz finishing on the podium at the Brazilian Grand Prix. It was the team’s first podium finish since the 2014 Australian Grand Prix and highlighted the step forward that they had made in the last twelve months. 2020 will be McLaren’s last year with Renault power before they switch back to Mercedes engines in 2021. If they can continue with their progress, it seems only a matter of time before they emerge as frontrunners once again.
A STATISTIC FROM EVERY GRAND PRIX
Australia: McLaren failed to score at the Australian Grand Prix for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Lando Norris out-qualified his team-mate on debut for McLaren, and recorded the team’s first Q3 appearance since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It’s also the first time McLaren have appeared in the final part of qualifying here since 2014.
Bahrain: McLaren reached the final part of qualifying in Bahrain for the first time since the 2014 season, with both of their drivers reaching Q3 for the first time since the 2017 Malaysia Grand Prix.
China: McLaren’s tally of 47 1-2 finishes was equalled by Mercedes at the 2019 Chinese Grand Prix. McLaren themselves continued their record of not reaching Q3 at the Shanghai International Circuit since 2013.
Azerbaijan: Before 2019, McLaren’s best qualifying result in Azerbaijan was thirteenth in 2018, courtesy of Fernando Alonso. Both drivers bettered that in 2019 and recorded the team’s first Q3 appearances at the Baku City Circuit.
Spain: For the first time since 2015, neither McLaren driver appeared in the top ten in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, though Lando Norris started from tenth on Sunday. Norris’ retirement in the race meant that McLaren have had one of their cars retire from the Spanish Grand Prix in every year since 2015.
Monaco: With Carlos Sainz’s sixth place in the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix, McLaren scored at the event for the first time since 2016. Lando Norris finished eleventh, making this the first time since 2016 that neither McLaren driver has retired in Monaco.
Canada: For the second time in 2019, both McLaren drivers reached the final part of qualifying at the Canadian Grand Prix. It was the first time since 2012 that both McLaren cars have qualified in the top ten at the Canadian Grand Prix.
France: McLaren made their 850th appearance at the 2019 French Grand Prix. In 2018, both McLaren drivers were eliminated in Q1 at Circuit Paul Ricard. In 2019, both reached the top ten shootout and qualified in the top six. Lando Norris’ fifth position marked the team’s best qualifying showing since Jenson Button qualified in the same position for the 2016 Austrian Grand Prix – though Button started third on the grid for that race due to penalties for other drivers. It also marked the first time both McLarens have appeared in the top six on the grid since the 2014 Italian Grand Prix.
Austria: McLaren had another strong weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. Lando Norris became the first McLaren driver to reach Q3 at the Red Bull Ring since Jenson Button in 2016, while both of their drivers scored in the race for the first time since 2003.
Britain: For the third season in a row, a McLaren driver finished in eleventh place at the British Grand Prix. Lando Norris finished just outside the points, just as Stoffel Vandoorne did in both 2017 and 2018. With sixth place, Carlos Sainz recorded the team’s best result at the track since 2014.
Germany: Lando Norris recorded the second of four 2019 McLaren Q1 exits at the German Grand Prix. Meanwhile, Carlos Sainz was the first McLaren driver to reach Q3 at the circuit since 2014.
Hungary: Carlos Sainz finished fifth in the Hungarian Grand Prix, equalling McLaren’s best result at the Hungaroring from the last seven seasons, scored by Fernando Alonso in 2015.
Belgium: Neither Carlos Sainz nor Lando Norris finished the Belgian Grand Prix. This was, therefore, the first race in which McLaren have recorded a double DNF since the 2017 Italian Grand Prix. It was the fourth consecutive year that McLaren have recorded a DNF at Spa, and the first time since 1983 that both of their cars have retired from the event.
Italy: In 2019, Carlos Sainz recorded McLaren’s fourth retirement in three years at the Italian Grand Prix. In more positive news, Lando Norris picked up the team’s first point at the track since 2014.
Singapore: McLaren recorded the same result as they did at the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix, with one driver finishing seventh and the other finishing twelfth. Lando Norris made this the fourth consecutive season that a McLaren driver has finished seventh in Singapore.
Russia: With Carlos Sainz finishing sixth and Lando Norris eighth at the 2019 Russian Grand Prix, McLaren surpassed 100 points in the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 2014. At this point the team had scored more points in 2019 than they did in the previous two seasons combined. Meanwhile, in qualifying, both McLarens reached Q3 at the Sochi Autodrom for the first time since 2014.
Japan: McLaren would have become the first team in F1 history to have finished sixth in four consecutive races, if not for Renault’s disqualifcation. Instead, Carlos Sainz finished fifth, recording McLaren’s first points at Suzuka since Jenson Button also finished fifth in 2014.
Mexico: McLaren reached Q3 at the 2019 Mexico Grand Prix with both cars. It was the first time McLaren have appeared in Q3 at the track, with both of their cars qualifying in the top ten for the first time since 1992. The team failed to score a point in the race however, making it the first time they have failed to score in Mexico since 2016.
United States: Lando Norris set the fastest time in an F1 session for the first time in his career during Q1 at the 2019 United States Grand Prix. It was the first time McLaren have been fastest in a qualifying session since Fernando Alonso was fastest in Q1 at the 2017 British Grand Prix. Both McLaren drivers went on to reach Q3, making 2019 only the second time that both McLaren drivers have reached Q3 at COTA. The only other time they did it was in 2014. Since then Alonso, in 2017, had been McLaren’s only other Q3 appearance at the United States Grand Prix.
Brazil: After 2,072 days, McLaren finally ended their wait for a podium at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix. After Lewis Hamilton’s penalty was applied, Carlos Sainz became Formula 1’s 211th different podium finisher. It was McLaren’s first podium since both cars finished in the top three at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. On that occasion, Jenson Button, who finished third, also didn’t appear on the podium as the eventual top three was decided by a post-race penalty. This was McLaren’s 24th podium finish at the Interlagos circuit and their first at the track since Button won in 2012.
Abu Dhabi: Both McLaren drivers reached the final part of qualifying for the first time at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix since 2012. It was their tenth double Q3 appearance of the season – their most double Q3 appearances in a year since 2014. McLaren finished with both cars in the top ten at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for the first time since they scored a 1-3 result in 2011.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.