Lando Norris feels he could have challenged for the front row in the wet conditions at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix despite recording his season-best qualifying performance.
Heavy rain early on Friday meant a wet FP1 before qualifying for the Sprint, and although Q1 and Q2 started dry, more rain meant intermediate tires were required for Q3. Norris was third-fastest after his first run and then spun off on his final attempt to bring out red flags that stopped anyone else improving, but he felt there was even more on the table for McLaren.
“I mean, I am happy, I’m top three, which is quite a surprise for us,” Norris said. “There was a lot left in the lap. I tried to get the tires up to temperature, but I pushed too hard on the out lap. A shame because there was a chance at least to maybe have a go at Charles (Leclerc).
“It’s difficult to say, because I am sure everybody can say they could’ve improved. There was a possibility for us to go forward even more because the car was feeling good and I was feeling confident, so it’s a shame it ended like that. But a good position for tomorrow, so I’m happy.”
The qualifying result follows both McLaren cars finishing in the top six in Australia after a tough start to the season, but Norris says the improvement rate will plateau at some stage.
“(It’s getting) better and better but at some point, that stops,” he said. “It’s difficult to say, these conditions made a big difference for us today and that’s why we are in the position we are. I think if it was completely dry, we would not be in third place. We made the most of today of course and we’ve given ourselves the best opportunity to score some good points this weekend.”