“I think we’re in the fight” — Norris confident McLaren can go for F1 Canadian GP win on basis of recent race pace

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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After an impressive performance in qualifying, Lando Norris will be starting Sunday’s race in P3, alongside his McLaren Oscar Piastri in P4.

The McLaren driver, whose fastest time in Q3 was just 21 milliseconds off the time by pole-sitter George Russell of Mercedes was asked whether he was frustrated by having missed out on the top position by such a small margin.

The McLaren driver commented that he “could have been in Max [Verstappen]’s position”, qualifying P2 despite matching the fastest time set, but admitted that he was happy with his performance. He stated that while his fastest lap had been good, he did not think that it was “incredible” and noted the “difficult” conditions and track layout in Montreal.

“I mean I could be in Max’s position and not be on pole but done a quick enough lap time, so I’m happy. Honestly, I’m happy with those. It’s so close, so to be this close with a lap […] I didn’t think was, it was good but not incredible, and I know George said he didn’t get the most out of it, that kind of thing.

“So just difficult conditions, difficult track layout and challenging which is kind of what makes Montreal what it is and definitely probably a bit harder this year than what it’s been in the past but still rewarding to come out with a P3 even if we were only two-hundredths off pole.”

When asked about whether he had struggled to become comfortable with the car, Norris re-iterated Russell’s earlier claim about the differences between the laps and recalled that weather conditions had limited the number of laps that could be done.

He added that he had experienced difficulties with maintaining the temperatures of the tyres as well as with graining, and said that it had been difficult to maintain consistency and “get a nice flow.”

“I mean very because like George said again it’s, every lap was different, we’ve not done many laps in the first place, so it’s tyres you know coming up to temperature then dropping away then graining then the sun coming out. It’s been difficult just to be consistent and kind of get a nice flow.”

He did state, however, that such difficulties were expected at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit, but admitted that it was difficult to “pinpoint exactly what you want from the car”. Those features, he stated, were what made the track “fun”, albeit “challenging”.

“I don’t think it’s ever been really that circuit you can necessarily do that but yeah difficult to kind of say pinpoint exactly what you want from the car because you want two different worlds of good ride, good kerbing and also a car that’s kind of just performing at its best from an aero performance wise.

“So yeah a challenge in all types of setting up the car and also from driving, but I think it’s what makes it fun around here and challenging and still as tough as it was to turn out so close.

“And I think from first to seventh or eighth was only two tenths, it’s good to watch.”

When asked if he was confident about his ability to challenge Russell and Verstappen for the win, the McLaren driver stated that he thought that they were in the fight due to their “great” race pace.

However, he acknowledged that the Mercedes had been consistently quick through the weekend and were favourites for the victory.

“I mean we’ve had great race pace the last few races so I’m gonna have to say yes I think we’re in the fight, it’s so close but you know George has been the favourite all weekend so they’ve been very quick.

“Mercedes have been very quick and George has done a great job qualifying so you would say on paper they look like they have, they’re a bit more comfortable with where they are you know from the first run that they’ve been pretty much at the top of the time sheets.

“And we necessarily haven’t and we’ve kind of progressed through the weekend a little bit more.

“But Sunday is always a day we’ve performed very well, like I said, over the last couple of months. So if we can do the same again tomorrow, then I’m excited to see what race we can put on.”