Slow and steady progress for McLaren in Monaco

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McLaren’s rich history at Monaco may not be extended this weekend, but both Jenson Button and Sergio Perez are pleased to have made it through to Q3 for Formula One’s star event.

Perez led the team’s charge by qualifying 7th, and although he is disappointed to have not finished any higher, the young Mexican is pleased to have maximized the potential of the car.

“It’s not great to cross the finish line, feel like you’ve just done a mega lap, and find that you’re only 7th,” Perez explained in a team statement. “Still, I put in a really strong performance here today, and I felt like I’d really maximized the full potential of the car. We know we’re not quite there yet performance-wise, so we need to keep pushing.

“But the team has done a fantastic job so far this weekend, and I hope we can keep the momentum going tomorrow and score some good points. Anything can happen at Monaco on Sunday.”

For Button, a problem with the car cost him dearly in the final session, and he could only finish P9.

“I’m not sure what happened on my final lap in Q3. We had an issue with the car right at the end – I didn’t have any power, so I couldn’t post a quick lap. It’s a pity because, apart from that problem, which we also saw a sign of at the end of Q2, it had been a great qualifying session for me.

“The team did a great job in terms of putting me out on the right tires at the right time, while I felt I was driving well, making the most of the conditions. Tomorrow’s race will be difficult, starting from P9, but on this occasion there’s absolutely nothing I could have done about it.”

The team will be hoping to record another double-points score in Monaco in order to move ahead of Force India in the constructors’ championship.

Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.