McLaren still fighting ‘fundamental issues’ – Norris
By Ian Parkes
Monday 8th May, 2023 - 3:57am
Lando Norris feels his McLaren still faces “fundamental issues” that were borne out by his performance in qualifying for the Miami Grand Prix.
A fortnight ago across the Azerbaijan GP weekend, it appeared as if McLaren had taken a step forward after introducing its first update that primarily included a new floor.
That resulted in Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri both reaching the top-10 shoot-out, qualifying seventh and 10th for the grand prix. For the sprint shoot-out, they started 10th and 11th respectively.
Around the Miami International Autodrome, however, neither managed to make it out of Q1, leading to Norris lining up 16th, with Piastri on the back row in 19th.
Assessing the difference in the space of two weeks, Norris said: “I probably made a couple of mistakes which maybe cost me getting into Q2, but we probably wouldn’t have achieved much more than 15th.
“You never know, but on pace, that’s probably where we were. It was a very difficult day, that was very clear. Kind of all weekend we haven’t had the pace. It’s a track that just doesn’t suit us quite as well as Australia or Baku.
“I said at the time, we made some small steps forward in Australia, but we didn’t necessarily change things. It’s just the track suited us more, and we’ve now come back to a track that is just not as good for us.
“The upgrade is working, and it’s still helped us take a small step forward, but still, the fundamental issues are the same, and that was proven again (in qualifying).”
Norris feels temperatures a factor
In practice on Friday, McLaren’s form from Baku appeared to spill over as Norris was sixth quickest, eight-tenths of a second behind Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
It appears as if Norris, in particular, flattered to deceive, although he feels there were other factors that came into play.
“No one puts together laps quite as good as they do in qualifying, and my lap in FP2 was a very good lap, which made us look extremely quick,” added Norris.
“If I’d dropped two-tenths or something, or I’d made a mistake, I would have been like P11 or something in FP2.
“People just get drawn into a number way too much, and don’t actually look like at happens on a lap, or if people make mistakes.
“I guess it was better in terms of looks, and maybe you’re a little bit more confident (on Friday), maybe the lower track temperature also helped. I would say that’s played a big part.
“It (the temperature for qualifying) was a bit hotter, especially so late in the day, which hurt us.
“That’s something we know is a strength and a weakness for us, when it’s cold and when it’s hot, so that’s probably also played a part but simply all weekend, we haven’t quite had the pace.”
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