Lando Norris wants to get his first Formula 1 start safely under his belt before he focuses too much on other targets in his rookie season with McLaren.
Last year’s Formula 2 runner-up has carried out running in numerous Friday free practice sessions ahead of his promotion to a race seat this season at the age of 19. While happy with the amount of work he did during pre-season testing to prepare for his debut, Norris said that a smooth opening weekend is his sole target.
“It will be a big moment going into my first race, so I don’t know what I’ll think of after – it depends if I have a great result or not so great result,” Norris said. “Hopefully a good one. I just want to get the first one out of the way, and I’m sure I’ll gain more confidence going into the first part of the season. My aim for now is to make sure I am comfortable and confident going into race one, and that I come out the same way.
“I feel pretty prepared. If I compare how prepared I felt coming into the two weeks [of testing] to how I feel now, I feel I am in a much better position in terms of knowing what I need to be doing and what I need to do to achieve a good results if I get the opportunity in Melbourne. From that side of things I feel much more confident, and I feel I can do the job I need to be doing when I get to the first race.”
McLaren has an all-new driver line-up this season, and Norris is confident the pairing with Carlos Sainz will allow him to continue to improve as the season goes on.
“It has been going very well so far,” he said. “We get along very well, which is always a nice thing. I try to help him out with some things, and I think he tried to help me out, too. It is going well and we get along, so for this time in the season, with the team how we are and the car how it is, it is a positive going forward that we get along.
“We can move forward together, which I think is very valuable, and I am sure as we get to Australia when we get new obstacles ,there are new things I can learn from him. In terms of learning from his data and him learning from mine, there are some things, especially from my side, that I’ve been able to pick up, and where Carlos is better. It has been working well so far.