McLaren had a great start to the 2021 season in Bahrain, with both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo accumulating points to push the team to third spot in the constructors’ standings.
While you may usually expect a team to be in a buoyant mood following such a display, Norris believes their car is the main weakness for the team and it could end up hurting the team in Imola.
Norris showed great prowess to finish the race in Bahrain in 4th spot. However, the British driver is nervous that the team will struggle due to the lack of one-lap speed. He believes certain circuits like Imola will expose this problem.
“Our qualifying performance was probably not our strongest point back in Bahrain,” said Norris.
“I think we did a good job and I think we were all quite happy with the performance we did and extracting the time and the speed out of the car. But just the position we were in was not as good as what we wanted.
“When you get to a track like here, a little bit more dependent on qualifying rather than the race, it might put us in a slightly more difficult position, one where we can’t overtake as easily on the Sunday.
“It is tough to have that pace benefit that we had on the Sunday [in Bahrain].
“It’s a different weekend. We were happy and we started the season off well, but we also need to know that we have weaknesses and things we need to work on, and sometimes they get highlighted at different tracks – and this weekend could be one of them.
“But I think we can still be positive and hopeful that we can make improvements and have made improvements since two weeks ago in Bahrain.”
Floor damage to Ricciardo’s car meant the Australian was unable to make a flashing start to his McLaren career. The new recruit believes he will only get better as he gets more and more comfortable with the car.
“Yes, there is [more to come from me],” he said.
“Actually, I’d probably say that even if I’d been with the team for five years. I feel like F1 is probably a sport which we’ll never quite perfect as a driver.
“There’s always something that you feel you can do better or nail. But I think with me now, within this car, let’s say I’ve found the limit on occasions but I probably haven’t been there enough to get comfortable at the limit.
“So it’s just trying to nudge [the limit] a few more times and then get comfortable at that level. So that’s probably those last few percent, which will keep coming with time, and every lap I turn, I think that will get better and better.”
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