Norris “never felt as good” in F1 Miami GP qualifying following hugely promising Friday pace

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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Occupying the third row for the Miami GP, McLaren’s Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri came fifth and sixth respectively in the Miami qualifying session.

Norris has the benefit of the car’s full upgrade package this weekend and is understandably fine-tuning the car whilst coming to terms with the MCL38’s new set-up.

Norris shared his thoughts on the session’s events, and the challenges he faced on track, noting, “I think we did better than yesterday in terms of managing the tyres but showed a bit more with the car.”

The British driver acknowledged the team’s efforts to fine-tune the car but nodded to a sense of uncertainty about the direction taken in set-up as he lost the very strong feeling he had in FP1, SQ1 and SQ2 on Friday.

“We made some changes and potentially just not in the right direction,” he admitted. “So, I was a lot more confident yesterday than I was today.

“Every time I put the soft on, as much as I felt better today, compared to the soft yesterday, I never felt as good as I did yesterday.

“So, when I put the medium on, I gained some confidence again.”

Despite grappling with a lack of confidence in the MCL38, Norris secured a respectable P5 start on the grid for the grand prix. 

“Some things to review, but I think obviously a better qualifying is close. I lost a little bit (of confidence) today for some reason, and I think that showed in the lap time.

“On track sometimes things just work out a bit differently.”

Regardless, his disappointment was evident as he explained that he thought that the team could have achieved more, “I think we should be higher up.”

Norris commented on how difficult it was for him to find improvements throughout the session on the very tricky and hot Miami track, claiming it was “not easy” and that “most people (drivers) have been complaining about it.”

“It’s just so easy to overdo it. 

“But I know we’re not the only ones. Max was complaining about it a lot.”

As most racetracks are ever-changing in nature, with track conditions that impact the cars, Norris noted how fine the line is between success and making mistakes, as he found out during SQ3 on Friday.

“I think it’s just more difference of whatever makes a big difference. The tyres are the same.

“You push 2kph more into a corner, even 1kph, it can be the difference of you being on the limit and over the limit. 

“So, then you get the feeling it’s different run to run, or if you brake 5m later, 2m later, you might be on the limit and go, ‘oh, that was fine, I feel I can push more’. You brake 2m later and you go, ‘oh, now I’m over the limit’.”

Addressing the unique challenges posed by the Miami circuit, Norris attributed its unpredictability to temperature and track surface, “I think just because it’s hot… it’s a bit trickier.”

“There’s nothing wrong with the tyres.

“I think everyone’s in the same boat. Everyone’s inconsistent and up and down. Every now and then, one person puts in a mega lap just because he (it) clicks.”