McLaren feared Lando Norris would be forced to retire due to a hydraulic issue in Sunday’s French Grand Prix after it left him "trying to survive" in the closing stages of the race.

Norris spent much of the race running seventh behind McLaren teammate Carlos Sainz, only for a hydraulic issue to cause him to drop back in the final 20 laps as a number of linked problems emerged on his MCL34 car.

Norris lost places on-track to Daniel Ricciardo, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Hulkenberg due to the issue, but was classified ninth after a post-race penalty dropped Ricciardo out of the points.

 “The car was getting very difficult to drive, quite unpredictable,” Norris explained after the race. “It was really inconsistent with upshifts, and the downshifts were terrible. The power steering started to go, something with the traction and the diff started to go.

“A whole load of problems which weren't very nice to have, and in the end cost us P7. In the end it's frustrating because it would have been nice to have P6 and P7 for us as a team, because I think we deserved it this weekend.”

McLaren F1 chief Andreas Seidl confirmed after the race that the team was concerned it would have to retire Norris due to the problem.

“Unfortunately in the second half of the race a hydraulic issue developed on Lando’s car. Then it was simply a case of engineers plus Lando trying to survive, which they did,” Seidl said.

“They did a great job in battling it through because it was affecting gear shifting, braking, power steering, and unfortunately on the last lap it was just not enough any more.

“As soon as Daniel was in DRS range we had to give up the positions.”

Despite the late setback, Norris said he was pleased with his performance over the Paul Ricard weekend.

“The whole day went very well, apart from the end and the problems we had,” Norris said.

“I thought my pace was very good throughout the whole race. I was within two seconds or whatever the gap was to Carlos the whole race. There was no point risking closing up and destroying my tyres.”

 

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