The curtains closed on the European season with Round 16 in Monza, the final race of a gruelling but enjoyable triple-header that left us with plenty of positives, but also a sense of what might have been.
A second-row start had us reflecting on the 2021 Italian Grand Prix, when Daniel sealed a historic one-two ahead of Lando, the pair having also started the race from second and third. And although expectations were very much tempered, to come away with just six points hurt a pinch, as a mixture of issues and misfortune robbed us of the chance to fight at the front.
However, despite any frustration at the final result, there was success to speak of throughout the weekend, as well as a solid show of papaya support in Italy and across the globe.
Here's what you made of it all on social media…
On Thursday, 8 September, Her Majesty The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Aged 96, her reign lasted 70 years and 214 days and was marked across our channels, with McLaren fans paying tribute.
As a team, we observed a minute's silence to commemorate the passing of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. In addition, we carried her name on the MCL36 in Italy and turned the McLaren Technology Centre sign from papaya to black.
The team in Monza and at the McLaren Technology Centre observe a minute’s silence to commemorate the passing of Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. https://t.co/FKhxzHt2T5
Our visit to Italy was the first time we had been back to Monza since our victory there in 2021, and, like us, you were keen to mark the occasion and take a trip down memory lane.
Plenty of learning was required in practice, with the differences between the 2021 and 2022 machinery expected to be more apparent at the Temple of Speed than many of the tracks on the calendar, given the nature of the power-sensitive low-drag favouring circuit.
This called for patience as Lando and Daniel focused on gathering data over lap times, and unsurprisingly, you obliged with a wave of support.
With lots learned, the focus shifted from practice to qualifying and from data gathering to lap times.
Lando and Daniel both fought their way into Q3, qualifying seventh and eighth before grid penalties shook up the order and promoted them to third and fourth, respectively, on the starting grid.
Our return to the second row was a well-deserved reward for the hard work behind the scenes at the track and MTC, as well as your unrivalled support.
We won't lie, @alasdairmulhern, while Lando and Daniel remained calm and collected, our nerves were on a knife's edge.
New merch days are the best kind of days.
@aftereightyears didn't appear to be the only one – our on-track performances seemed to have sparked a significant increase of papaya at the track, with McLaren merch as far as the eye could see.
And more still…
And that's before we'd even gotten to those of you watching from home, with loads of you supporting from the UK.
From all over Europe…
And from the rest of the world...
We're sensing a theme here…
Both drivers suffered from unfortunate issues in the race, as Lando lost places at the start due to a problem and finished seventh. Daniel, meanwhile, was forced to retire on Lap 46 due to an oil leak. That's not to take away from the positives, though, with some impressive pace shown throughout.
Ultimately, it wasn't our day in Italy, but opportunities remain with six races to go. After three weeks on the road, we'll return home for a rest-up, before diving into the data and climbing back into the simulator. Like your support, the hard work never stops.
See you in Singapore, team.
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