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Norris plays down McLaren pace

NEWS STORY
27/03/2021

At a time some believe McLaren could be a third force in the championship battle, Lando Norris suggests that out front it's going to be business as usual.

While some have maintained the impressive form shown in pre-season testing and others a marginal improvement, some appear to have slipped back while others confirm the anticipated season of mediocrity.

Coming off the back of a strong showing in testing, with McLaren, and in particular, Lando Norris, on the pace in both sessions, just 0.095s down on Max Verstappen in FP2 and ahead of both Mercedes, some suggest the Woking team could be a third force in this season's championship battle. However, the Briton has played down hopes, claiming that when it really matters it will be business as usual for Mercedes and Red Bull.

"We looked quick today," he told Sky Sports, "but it's fairly obvious what's going to happen tomorrow... it's going to be kind of the usual front four cars ahead of us. You never know, we could be a surprise, but the car didn't feel that good today.

"Behind there it seems very close," he continued, "even if today we were a little bit ahead. We'll go in tomorrow and be a little bit more where we should be.

"I'm a bit surprised by today," he admitted, "but I think it's because we showed more pace than the others, simple as that."

Referring to his claim that the car didn't "feel that good", he said: "If we can improve those things going into tomorrow then we can be even better. But whether we can improve on them is the question because they're similar things to what we've been working on all season and we'll see if we can come up with anything tomorrow.

"I'm quietly confident I guess, but, yeah, although we looked good today I don't want to get too confident as I don't think that's where we're going to be tomorrow.

"I don't have the confidence that I want," he admitted, "especially on medium and high-speed corners. Turns 6/7, I made a mistake on the first lap and had to abort as I completely lost the rear.

"My confidence in the car isn't where I want it to be, it isn't where we had it last year, but there's also improvements in other places compared to last year. So there's areas to work on and that's our job."

"I still want to find a few things in the car and obviously within myself," said teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who was 0.5s off Norris' pace in the opening session and almost 0.4s in the second. "Hopefully I'll find another step tomorrow to get more where I want to be."

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1. Posted by kenji, 27/03/2021 13:47

"Changing teams/cars is no small matter as Daniel is finding. Once he's gained confidence in the car doing what he wants to do with it then we'll see just where they are.ATN it appers to be braking that is the biggest problem. Give him that and he'll do the business. Early days....."

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