Norris dismisses ‘downbeat’ McLaren claim

McLaren driver Lando Norris is refusing to be downbeat after poor start to the season

McLaren driver Lando Norris is refusing to be downbeat after a poor start to the season

Lando Norris feels there is no reason for all inside McLaren to feel downbeat despite what was a thoroughly miserable start to the new F1 season for the team.

Already aware it was on the backfoot going into the opening race in Bahrain after failing to hit development targets over the winter, both Norris and new team-mate Oscar Piastri were forced to retire.

Norris’ MCL60 sustained a power unit pneumatic issue which led to him pitting six times before eventually stopping with two laps remaining.

As for Piastri, his F1 debut lasted just 13 laps as he retired with an electrical problem.

Norris, aware it is crucial he remains positive to motivate the rest of the team, said: “It’s very important. It’s part of my job really, I guess more so now than ever.

“But there’s no reason why they should be downbeat. The main thing is we should have scored points. That was our objective with a car we know is not that competitive.

“The team knows that and if we fix the issue, we should be fine.”

Norris optimistic once upgrade applied

The British driver firmly believes a top-10 finish was on the cards but for his PU problem as he qualified a reasonable 11th.

That was despite pre-qualification predictions suggesting neither McLaren would make it out of Q1.

In the race, Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas and Pierre Gasly in his Alpine finished eighth and ninth after starting 12th and last respectively.

Norris believes the next race in Saudi Arabia around the Jeddah Street Circuit should suit McLaren more, and with a planned major upgrade set for the fourth race in Azerbaijan, the 23-year-old can see the positives.

“It’s not as bad as everyone expected before the season, it’s not as bad as everyone was expecting before the test and before the race,” said Norris.

“As I said, we should have scored points. Simple as that. And that’s what we’ll try and do next time.

“We’ve scored points in the past in Jeddah. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have scored points (in Bahrain) and that continues into the next race.

“We still believe we can score points with the car we have, which makes us even more optimistic for the later part of the season.”

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