Lando Norris says his third place on the grid on the Styrian Grand Prix is an indication of how aggressive McLaren may be when it will get its automotive working correctly.
McLaren has been sturdy on the Purple Bull Ring previously — with Norris getting his first podium right here final 12 months and Carlos Sainz qualifying third for one of many two races — in addition to throughout some qualifying periods this 12 months comparable to Imola. However the crew has additionally had some events the place it has struggled relative to the likes of Ferrari, AlphaTauri and Alpine on a Saturday and Norris says his efficiency in Austria — the place he was fourth quickest however will begin third — demonstrates the potential when the package deal clicks.
“I wasn’t actually anticipating it to be as shut as we have been,” Norris mentioned. “I used to be simply anticipating Purple Bull and Mercedes to have a bit extra of a niche however the automotive was good and even my very first lap that I did in Q1 was very sturdy. A little bit bit stunned it was that good and we didn’t must do the second run and issues like that.
“We made some good enhancements from P2 to P3 — I struggled fairly a bit in P2 yesterday — after which we made additional enhancements from P3 to quali and the automotive obtained quite a bit higher, so it’s good. It was rewarding, particularly as a result of quali has been… not our weak point however it’s not been our strongest space currently. It’s good to make our lives a little bit bit simpler tomorrow.
“Possibly it’s simply us, me and my automotive. The automotive should swimsuit this monitor a bit greater than others for certain. However I really feel like I used to be driving effectively on the identical time. I felt like I did some good laps. The automotive’s nonetheless not tremendous simple to drive — it’s onerous to get it proper on the restrict however after we do, which I most likely did fairly a bit at this time, we may be the place we’re.
“I don’t know what the key is however the automotive was very good to drive with confidence and once I’m driving effectively you set these two collectively and we may be very sturdy.”
Teammate Daniel Ricciardo dropped out in Q2 in thirteenth place, saying the automotive was troublesome to drive. Norris says the Australian is true, however that he feels he merely carried out higher on Saturday.
“I imply, I agree, the automotive isn’t simple to drive and we proved that many instances this 12 months. It’s troublesome to place issues collectively. However I felt like I used to be driving very effectively at this time as effectively. I struggled yesterday and I used to be behind him I feel in each periods, so it’s not like I’ve been means faster all weekend.
“It’s simply I made some good enhancements with my driving and did a greater job at this time and put all of it collectively once I once I wanted to. Clearly we nonetheless have barely completely different driving kinds and no matter and he struggled a bit extra at this time.”