After its problematic start to the season, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo had a little more to smile about after Friday’s practice sessions on the Albert Park street circuit. The pair were both within the top 10 in both sessions, with Norris winding up eighth and Ricciardo 10th in the afternoon.
“Today was one of our better days so far this season,” said Norris, who was 1.122s down to pacesetter Charles Leclerc in FP2. “I think we started off the day well with a good balance and just made further improvements, moving in a decent direction.
“So far it looks similar to Jeddah, which is a good thing for us, because that was a decent weekend. Things are looking reasonably good — there’s still a bit more to improve, so that’s our job going into qualifying tomorrow.”
His teammate, who earlier in the week admitted that he expected the revised street course ought to suit the MCL36 well, was similarly optimistic about his chances in front of his home crowd.
“It was a good day, just getting back into the groove here in Melbourne, and I enjoyed it,” Ricciardo said. “The layout has always been fun, but it now has some additional changes to it and, for the most part, I like them. Both cars ended in the top 10 in both sessions today, so hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for the weekend. We’re in a decent place with the car and we’ll just keep at it. We will try to adapt with the track in terms of changes for the rest of the weekend to stay on top of it. I have good confidence and hopefully it turns into better days to come.”