Lando Norris hails McLaren improvements but wants 'whole package upgrade'

Lando Norris has said McLaren have made improvements to the car but need a “whole package upgrade” if they want to become more competitive.

The Brit remains the only non-Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes driver to have stood on the podium having finished third at Imola.

The result was a much welcomed one for McLaren whose early testing and performance in the first few races showed they were well off the pace.

Since then, they have made improvements to the car and are back to challenging the likes of Alfa Romeo for the position of fourth best team on the grid.

Norris has said the car has improved on average through all the tracks but said more was still needed.

“I think there are some slightly tougher areas,” Norris told reporters. “I want to believe in general we’ve probably improved the car on average through all the tracks.

“I think there’s still a few which we’re yet to go to where we struggled a lot last season, and I think are different in terms of characteristics to all of the ones that we’ve been to. So places like Zandvoort, and things like that.

“We’re still yet to explore all of the ranges of types of corners and tracks and so on. But I want to believe and I think I have some confidence in saying that we’ve improved the car throughout most of these areas. And what we need now is in general just a whole package upgrade, I think.”

Having recovered from a bout of tonsillitis, Norris has not been the McLaren driver in the news of late with further rumours about Daniel Ricciardo’s future.

The Australian has struggled to get to grips with the MCL36 but Norris has admitted the car is still not 100% suited to him either.

 

“It’s handling reasonably well,” the 22-year-old said. “But there’s definitely types of characteristics that I personally as a driver I still want more from the car in, and it’s just hard to go in that direction.

“I think what Daniel and I want from the car is quite similar, but there’s definitely differences in some driving styles and stuff, and I sometimes bias my car more one way than what he does kind of thing.

“It’s also down to personally how I feel I want to drive the car. And I believe there’s good lap time in going in that direction. But it’s just a hard thing to improve on, especially from one race to the next.

“But I think over the next races and next months, and hopefully when we can bring some more bits to the car, then we can move in that direction.”

Norris has previously said he believed McLaren were the fourth fastest team on the grid but has since backtracked and said the midfield battle was too close to call.

“I think we’ve just been consistently good, especially since Bahrain, maybe not in Bahrain. But since then, we’ve just had a package which performs decently at every track, which is always a good thing, to be there every time, and to be in the points.

“I think we were probably ahead of Mercedes in Monaco. So around third, fourth, fifth, maybe sixth area, but I think it’s a close group. So as long as we’re towards the front of that, I’ll be happy.”

“I would say so, just off how we’ve been doing lately this year,” he noted. “Barcelona was a decent race, could have been a little bit better, and Monaco was a strong weekend for us.

“Many things can happen here, and there’s always unexpected people on the podium and stuff like that. So as long as we’re in that position and we’re there at the end of the race to potentially be in that position, then that’s the aim.”

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