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Lando Norris

Norris feels McLaren ‘made some good improvements’ at Monza despite ‘tough’ battles

McLaren are fifth in the standings after Monza, on 115 points, which puts them 42 points ahead of rivals Alpine

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Lando Norris reflects on the Monza weekend, which saw McLaren exceed their expectations and make some “good improvements”. 

Norris McLaren Piastri
Oscar Piastri of Australia leads Lando Norris during the F1 Grand Prix of Italy at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on September 03, 2023 in Monza, Italy. (Photo by Joe Portlock – Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Over the course of the 2023 season so far, McLaren are a team that have had some ups and downs. The beginning of the season wasn’t what the Woking outfit would have wanted; McLaren scored only 14 points across both drivers in the opening four rounds.

However, since McLaren started introducing upgrades to the MCL60, they have been on an upwards trajectory. Lando Norris scored two back-to-back podiums at Silverstone and Hungary. On the other side of the garage, Oscar Piastri also scored his first F1 podium in the Belgian Sprint Race. After 13 rounds, McLaren have now cemented themselves as fifth in the standings.

The most recent Grand Prix at Monza saw the team qualify P9 and P7 with the Australian rookie ahead of his British teammate. During the race, both drivers had some good on-track battles, even with each other, and Norris finished the race in eighth. Piastri, however, received damage from contact with Hamilton and then received a five-second penalty, meaning he finished the race in 12th.

Now, after the weekend, Norris has reflected on McLaren’s performance. The Monza circuit wasn’t one where the team thought they’d perform well, given it’s a low-downforce track. However, whilst the weekend saw results lower than those previously, the British driver believes McLaren made some improvements.

‘A good step forward’

Speaking after the weekend, and as reported by Autosport, Norris feels McLaren made some good progress over the Italian Grand Prix weekend. He told media:

“It was P8, some points. And maybe we were hoping for a touch more. But also at times, we were expecting not to even be in the points. So I’m happy with it.”

Norris continued, highlighting the fact that he felt there was some damage limitation throughout. Norris said:

“I think it was damage limitation. At the same time, good to see the progress we made on a low downforce circuit. I know there wasn’t a lot, and a bit of it is just things you have from last year, and trying to optimise them for here.

“But we made some good improvements, and it was a raceable car, which is a good step forward. And there’s only one more low downforce track this season.”

The remaining low downforce track Norris is talking about is Las Vegas, which is debuting on the calendar in November.

A ‘tough’ battle for McLaren with Williams

Throughout the majority of the race, McLaren’s battle was with the Williams of Alex Albon. Norris was stuck behind the Thai/British driver and commenting on this, he points out how “tough” it was. He said:

“I tried, we had good battles. I tried quite a bit. But they were too quick for us in the straights. And even with DRS, I catch maybe 2-3kph more than what he’s doing.

“[It’s] tough, because of the Williams maybe not allowing us to get as many points as we I think could have achieved. But he drove a good race, and limited what we could do.

“The pace was good. But the overtaking was too difficult.”

The next circuit on the calendar is Singapore next weekend. With McLaren’s progress and good run of form in the recent races, how will they do at Marina Bay?

Headline Image: GettyImages

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