Lando Norris and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo have had a rather disappointing start to the season, with an MCL36 that lacks grip and has put them further than expected away from the big favourites.
However, the feeling seems to have improved at the Australian Grand Prix after both drivers finished FP2 in the top 10, with the Brit ensuring the team has overcome the dire situation at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“It felt pretty good. It wasn’t amazing, but it was decent. It was probably our best Friday of the year, so hopefully this continues tomorrow, we have a good feeling.”
“I think we made some changes from what we learned in the previous two weekends, and they’re working out reasonably well. It’s a small step forward, so it’s a good start, and hopefully we’ll be able to continue that tomorrow and do more.” improvements”.
However, Norris is in no doubt that much of McLaren ‘s improvement in Australia is down to the nature of the circuit, not having as many low-speed corners as Bahrain.
“It’s just the track, but of course there will be some little things that we are improving, maybe a tenth. There is nothing that makes us half or a second faster. We are getting the most out of the car and I think we are doing a good job.” .
“But a lot of what we’ve seen today is just down the track. We learned from what happened in Bahrain and I think we’re going in the right direction, but we’re still a long way off,” Norris concluded.
Team principal Andreas Seidl , however, explained that not all of McLaren’s progress since Bahrain is due to circuit layout, as he feels the team has a better understanding of its car after the first two weekends.
“From my point of view, it’s probably 50%-50%,” he said. “When we look back at the test week in Bahrain and the race weekend there, we had a lot of challenges.
“We were definitely on the defensive in Bahrain. But then we were able to apply those learnings in the second weekend and it helped us to have a calmer weekend with a lot more performance. But I guess also the track layout adapted more. to our car and that’s why we were more competitive,” he added.
Despite these early signs of progress, Seidl assured that the factory is still working hard to bring the necessary improvements to get closer to the front of the grid.
“Obviously we are back completely, with a clear plan to get more performance. The most important thing was to understand how to get that. Now we have a clear plan and we just need to execute it.”
“It will take a bit of time to reach our goal. Therefore, we have to be patient and at the same time ambitious to bring these updates as quickly as possible. And in parallel, we will try to score as many points as possible with the package current,” he concluded.