Saudi Arabia GP | “Q3 not yet”, Norris’ thoughts about MCL60 before Jeddah

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Lando Norris talks about his 2023 challenger’s position within the grid and is optimistic after Bahrein’s disappointment.

Photo: McLaren Racing

At Thursday’s press conference at the Saudi Arabian GP, Lando Norris was quite optimistic, after an underwhelming Bahrain GP for McLaren, in which he and his teammate, rookie Oscar Piastri, suffered issues with their MCL60.

Piastri would DNF after an electrical problem after 13 laps and Lando would suffer from a pneumatic pressure leak throughout the whole race, the Brit had to pit six times to fill up his car and finished last.

But, the pace that the car showed was promising:“I think for what we believe we should have achieved last weekend in Bahrain and absolutely,” Lando said. “You know, I believe we should have been in the top 10, scored some points in Bahrain, if we didn’t have the issues. So our plan is to limit that, not have any issues and try again and make up for (what) we lost.”When asked about qualifying pace, Norris downplayed expectations. “Q3 not yet, not possible to be in Q3 in Bahrain so we know, in terms of pace we have a lot of work to do. Some cars seem much quicker in qualifying and then struggle in the race and some vice versa. So I think we’re just a little bit in the middle there. But I believe we should have at least had a fight with Alex and Alex was just ahead of me before we started having some of the issues, so yeah, tough to say but it’s not the track it’s a very different layout, different tarmac and many things so hopefully that plays a little bit more into our hands.”Lando was not worried about McLaren’s reliability issues returning throughout the season: “Oscar’s problem, it was an issue that we’ve had the first time we’ve seen in years and years and years, so confident that’s fixed and from my issue, Mercedes are sure that they fixed that and it was, again, something which hasn’t happened for years and years. So both quite rare issues. And both things that we’re confident, both from HPP side and from McLaren side that are fixed.“I don’t know, everyone makes it sound a lot worse than it is. And calling it crisis is far from that at all and it’s nothing close to it. So, no, we’re confident we can get some good points, I would say, this weekend.”

Photo: McLaren Racing

McLaren ended in fifth place last season, losing to rivals Alpine and Norris appeals for the whole team to out-develop near rivals.“So I think what Aston have done is this clear example and what Ferrari did between ’21 and ‘22 was a clear example of what we need to achieve and want to achieve. And it’s clear that it’s achievable. So we just got to go out and do it. I think we have the people, we have so many things that we need. We’re not doing a good enough job with what we have but we all know that and we know that we have some more things coming but at the same time, we have to do better than what we’re doing currently.”

Finally, about rumors that he could leave McLaren at the end of the season, to which he is committed until 2025, Lando didn’t bother.“I’m at a point where it doesn’t affect me in any way. I’m, I guess, fine with it to an extent, apart from when it’s just complete BS, that people try and come up with, and completely fake stories that people make up.“I’m fine with it, the team are fine with it.”