Norris bracing for early-season inconsistency from McLaren

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Norris bracing for early-season inconsistency from McLaren

Formula 1

Norris bracing for early-season inconsistency from McLaren

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Lando Norris says his seventh place at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is a sign that McLaren’s performance will vary depending on track layouts during the coming races.

After a tough opening weekend in Bahrain, McLaren got both cars into Q2 and fought for points in Jeddah, with Norris coming home seventh after Daniel Ricciardo was forced to retire. Although Norris is encouraged by a weekend in which McLaren could fight with the likes of Alpine for the top six compared to an uncompetitive run the week before, he warns the start of the season is likely to be up-and-down for the team.

“There are going to be many races that we can look forward to, and we can expect good results and stuff like (Jeddah),” he said. “But there are still a lot more tracks like Bahrain which we’re going to struggle. And I think we know that, we understand it, so as long as everyone else understands then I think we can manage expectations well.

“P7 is a good day for us in terms of what we have, but we’re McLaren and we want more, so we’ll keep working hard and see if we can make more progress.”

However, Norris admits there could have been more on the table for him in Saudi Arabia if he had been able to keep Ocon at bay, rueing the timing of a yellow flag that prevented him using the McLaren’s relative strengths to pull away on the final lap.

“It’s a shame because I was fighting for sixth and I was leading into the last lap in sixth, but we lack a lot of straight-line speed and it was very easy for Ocon to defend that position, especially when he has DRS,” he said. “But I think (there were) a lot of positives. We had good pace and we scored some good points.

“It’s P7, we have to be happy. I would have loved to be P6, I was fighting for P6, but when Ocon had DRS it was hard to keep him behind, because their straight-line speed is so much higher than ours. It was tricky. I tried, at least. Maybe I did one lap too early, but it’s hard to say because I got ahead and then it was the double yellow flag and the gap closed a lot when he was behind me – he let off a lot less behind the yellow flag.

“I’ve got to be on the safer side; I guess he wants to take a some more risk under double yellows, but it was tight. But I’m happy with P7. Some points, at least.”

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