Lando Norris says McLaren’s upgrade at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix was a clear step forward but he is hoping it will be even more obvious in Miami.
McLaren brought a number of new components to Baku, with the biggest change being a new floor that is designed to increase performance at all venues. Despite that, Norris says it was tough to gauge the difference when racing in Azerbaijan, and he believes the higher speed corners in Miami will allow him to notice a greater impact.
“Doesn’t feel any different inside the car but it is a step forward,” Norris said. “I’m just being honest with it. Everyone will probably say ‘yeah it felt mega’ but you don’t feel it. It’s such a small amount in every corner, the oversteer is like this little bit less. It’s a step forward in terms of like efficiency, also a little bit.
“We weren’t expecting a big step, and like we said, Baku was not the track where we will show its potential. Miami we will maybe understand a bit more, and some of the high-speed corners, because that was more where it was aimed at. So, (in Baku) we weren’t expecting a lot, but it’s done what it’s done what it was meant to do so happy with that.”
Norris qualified in the top 10 in both sessions in Baku and picked up two points in the grand prix, having spent much of the race stuck behind Nico Hulkenberg until the Haas driver finally made a pit stop late on. Despite the frustrating time sat behind the German, Norris says it’s unlikely he would have finished any higher even if he’d had clear air for much of the race.
“It didn’t make a difference really. I would have finished P9 either way. Just a tough race, long, sat behind the cars with our straight-line speed, and just with quite a short DRS zone. Not just for us, but everyone just very very difficult to overtake. So, not a lot to do. Just sat behind for almost 40 laps. And then he made a mistake and then I managed to capitalize on that.
“Long race, but we did the best we could. Ninth is all we can achieve at the minute. I try and go with the guys ahead and one lap later the tires go off a cliff. It’s a challenge. We are little bit closer, this track has definitely helped us, but we will see how we are in Miami.”