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Lando Norris of McLaren

Norris: McLaren aren’t ‘confident’ as they expect a ‘bigger fight’ to beat Ferrari at COTA

Lando Norris has admitted that “slow speed corners” do not suit the McLaren

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McLaren driver Lando Norris has confirmed that he does not feel confident heading into the United States Grand Prix as Ferrari looks to extend their lead over the team from Woking in the Constructors’ Championship.

Lando Norris
Valtteri Bottas, Carlos Sainz, Lance Stroll, Logan Sargeant and Lando Norris attend the Drivers Press Conference during the F1 Grand Prix of United States. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
Will McLaren’s good form end in Austin?

McLaren has been experiencing a period of success recently after the upgrades they brought to the car have seen them challenge for podiums consistently.

The Woking-based team achieved podiums in their last three races, scoring consecutive double podiums in Japan and Qatar. However, Lando Norris has suggested that this run of form might come to an end as he opened up on how the Circuit of the Americas would not suit the McLaren car as they attempt to chase down Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship. The British driver has said in the Thursday press conference:

“Not so confident. Just a lot more slow-speed corners, which is not our strength. I think it’s tough when you look at it.

“If we look at Singapore, obviously we’re not bad in Singapore, clearly not as strong as Ferrari but still not a bad race. But we know on these types of circuits, Mercedes is going to be very strong, Ferrari is going to be very strong. Aston, here in the past have been very strong.

“It’s just not a track… like we knew when we went to Qatar it was going to be a track which really suited us: a lot of medium high speed, which is where we’re very strong and almost on par with Red Bull. Less of that here and a lot more slow speed so I’m definitely not as confident but nevertheless, I’m not saying it’s going to be a bad weekend.

“I think we can still fight. It’s just going to be a much bigger fight, I think.”

After achieving a sixth combined podium between Oscar Piastri and Norris, the driver pair have now achieved McLaren’s most successful season in ten years, with their last being in 2012 with 13 podiums.

Ferrari are feeling up for a fight

Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz has stated that “we should be able to keep them [McLaren] behind” in Thursday’s Press Conference. As F1 goes into its final five races, Ferrari sit 79 points clear of McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship with Aston Martin sitting between the pair as the fight for second and third continues.

However, after Sainz not being able to start the Qatar Grand Prix due to a fuel system issue with his car, he was quick to point out that reliability would play a big part in their success over the weekend.

Sainz said : “I think if we don’t have any other DNS or DNFs, I think we should be able to keep them behind.

“Doesn’t mean that they’re not going to beat us. I think they’re going to beat us in most of the races from here to the end of the season.

“If all things are aligned because they do have a very quick car nowadays, and they look to be the only ones that can at certain times bother Red Bull and as we are in a track like Singapore, where maybe it’s more of us.”

As McLaren has already ruled themselves out of being competitive this weekend, if Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc can beat the Red Bull’s to pole position, he will overtake Valtteri Bottas as the driver to achieve most poles without winning a Drivers’ Championship.

Ferrari and McLaren fans will be able to get their first look at who will be on top in Free Practice 1, which gets underway at 12:30 local time (18:30 BST).

Headline image: GettyImages

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