Lando Norris believes McLaren has shown more than its rivals during Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix even if it is performing strongly.
McLaren was the second-quickest team in FP2, with Norris just over 0.2s off pace-setter Charles Leclerc, and Daniel Ricciardo also competitive in fifth place. Norris believes the work done to get more performance out of an upgrade package introduced in Paul Ricard last week has helped, and led to the team hitting the ground running.
“It is good — I think the car’s just performing very well from the off,” Norris said. “I felt comfortable. I think today’s a little bit of an overshow of our performance just because we’ve turned up more than what other people have, so we’re definitely not fighting for Ferrari and Red Bull positions but we seem in a good place.
“I’m not too sure about the long-run stuff, I haven’t had a look yet, but things are maybe a little bit ahead of where we were in Paul Ricard, which is a good thing. But it’s still just Friday — the weather’s meant to change tomorrow so we have to wait and see — but things at the minute are a little bit better than what they were so that’s a positive.
“There’s no new bits, it’s just what we had last weekend. Better not damage it just in case with the rain and stuff tomorrow, so just being cautious. We’ve just managed to analyze a lot of the stuff from last week with the new floor and new bits, and also with this track we’ve managed to place the car in a more optimized position, so it can perform better and sit more where it wants to sit, basically.”
Ricciardo was similarly encouraged by the strong McLaren showing on Friday, believing there are only small areas that the car can be improved at the Hungaroring.
“It was a fairly competitive day; obviously you don’t know what the others do in FP2 with the performance runs but we were also quite competitive in FP1, so I hope that that means that we actually are quick this weekend,” Ricciardo said.
“I think the car has felt all right. Of course there’s a few corners where we want more, but generally around the lap I feel like we’ve had a decent car and hit the ground running. We will still try and find more out of it because you have to expect the others do; for us I think there’s still a bit of fine-tuning but it was certainly a good day.”
However, with rain forecast for Saturday, Ricciardo warns the good performance on Friday doesn’t guarantee a productive rest of the weekend.
“Yes, it’s a good day, but it still doesn’t mean anything for qualifying, especially if it’s wet. I don’t want to be pessimistic but you can’t just settle, there’s still things to learn and keep going. But it’s certainly boosted the team — everyone feels better after a day like this. It reinforces some confidence in everyone and obviously the updates we brought last week, maybe they show a little bit more on this style of circuit, so all of these kind of things certainly help.”