Norris “happy” with Hungarian GP podium but expects “tougher tracks” to come for McLaren

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Lando Norris reflected positively on his second place finish at the 2023 Hungarian GP, but is aware that McLaren’s striking improvement in form over the recent races may come to an end with some “tougher tracks” coming up later in the season.

Photo Credit: McLaren F1

The Briton made an excellent start to get ahead of Lewis Hamilton on the first lap, but lost out to his team-mate Oscar Piastri and had to settle for third place early on, before getting ahead of the Australian with a successful undercut attempt. From there, Norris managed his race to finish in an excellent second place for the second consecutive race.

Speaking after the race, Norris said the race was “tough” due to the hot conditions at the Hungaroring, and emphasized how he had to fend off a charging Sergio Perez on the final few laps:

“[It was] just a tough race, not an easy one, especially with [Perez] catching at the end,” said Norris. “But he didn’t have enough pace to catch up, so I’m happy. I had to fight for a little bit in the beginning [of the race], I got a bit screwed over in turn one.

“Another podium for us and for McLaren, which is amazing.”

When asked if a win is possibly on the cards after his strong run of form recently, Norris joked that it could happen “if Max [Verstappen] retires or something.

“At the minute, those guys are too quick, unless they make mistakes or something happens. At the minute, I think we’re very happy with the progress we’ve made to go from where we were four to five races ago – struggling to get out of Q1 sometimes – to fighting for poles and fighting for podiums, we’ll take it for now and our time will come later in the year.”

After scoring consecutive podiums for the first time in his career, Norris said McLaren “knew” that it would start the season on the backfoot in terms of car performance, and is happy that the team is now able to prove its critics wrong after a slow start:

“It’s the obvious answer really – a lot of hard work, great team work from everyone back at the factory did an amazing job.

“I think we knew it at the beginning [of the season] that we were gonna struggle, we looked pretty poor and we got a lot of abuse for McLaren, with [people] saying we weren’t doing a good enough job, but I’m happy that we finally proved some people wrong.”

The team has now performed well over three almost completely different circuits in Austria, Britain and Hungary, but Norris is wary of “tougher tracks” to come for the Woking squad, and says the ever-changing balance of power behind Red Bull means every team is now “closer together” after some early field spread:

“I guess there is still going to be some tougher tracks coming up, two [podiums] in a row is very promising for the whole team. I guess we still didn’t expect to have improved this much, others seem to probably have taken a step back like Aston [Martin] and Ferrari were clearly ahead of all of us at the beginning and now everyone seems to be closer together.

“The top teams haven’t been able to find as much time maybe as some of the other teams behind have. But at the same time, I don’t really care where we are – as long as we’re on the podium, I’m happy.”