McLaren F1 pace at last three events “a very good sign”, says Norris following strong qualifying

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Despite a positive result in Hungaroring, Lando Norris expressed his disappointment with his performance, stating that there was potential for him to get a surprise pole position.

Photo credit: McLaren Racing

As F1 introduced a new “alternative tyre allocation” rule that specified which compounds teams must run in each qualifying phase, Norris led the Q2 timings on medium tyres but fell just short in Q3 after switching to the soft compound, missing out on the pole position by a bit over eight hundreds.

After the session, he admitted his anger and said he was “a little bit” surprised to perform so well in Hungary.

“Just nine hundreds, it wasn’t like it was a bad session; it just probably when you’re only eight hundeds off-pole, you feel like that was within your drive, and if you just did something slightly differently or just got on the throttle a little bit earlier.

“I guess it’s just a little frustrating, especially to be so close, but at the same time, it’s good to be P3; we’re also happy.”

The big updates for Austria and Silverstone has transformed McLaren’s season. Although it’s been a big struggle for Lewis Hamilton in recent times, Norris believes it’s been far tougher for McLaren.

“Like Lewis said that he’s been struggling, but you look where we’ve been in the last few years I think we’ve been happier and I think we’ve been through a tougher time fighting for eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth for the last year and recent times.

“So for us to now be consistently, three races in a row, competitive to be so close to pole position is still a very good sign, mixed. I guess I’m happy. I was also a little frustrated on what could’ve been an even better position.”

The British driver expressed his surprise over the performance of the car by adding:

“I think everyone says Budapest is a slow-speed circuit, but really it’s still a lot closer to medium speed; you never even use second gear around the whole circuit, so the slower speed is where we struggle; it’s where we’re the worst, in the chicane, Turn 1 and Turn 12, it’s where we lose a lot of our time, definitely close to be only eight hundreds off of pole position, I think we’re pretty happy with that, a little bit surprised but at the same time I think it’s a good surprise.”

Photo credit: McLaren Racing

He also admitted that tomorrow’s race will be tough considering the advantage that Hamilton and Verstappen have according to the Brit.

“It’s going to be tough, Lewis I think is one of the best, Mercedes is one of the best starters, Lewis included. So to get them off the line it’s going to be a challenge. (..) to get a jump on him, it’s gonna be difficult, If Max can do what he did in Silverstone, that would be wonderful; it changes every weekend I think. I just need to focus on getting a good start myself, focus on my own job.”