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Norris On Testing: “I would rather be last”

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Lando Norris shares his thoughts on his performance in pre-season testing.

Yesterday was day one of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Seeing the cars back on track was a beautiful sight as it means the beginning of the 2022 F1 season is nearly here.

Day one saw both Ferrari’s run particularly quick times with Charles Leclerc going fastest in the morning session. Whilst that made many Tifosi very happy, Leclerc only came second out of the whole day.

McLaren driver Lando Norris topped the day’s classification as he went fastest overall. Norris completed just over 100 laps around the circuit yesterday and had a time of 1:19.568.

F1
Credit: formula1.com

He was over half a second quicker than his Ferrari rival Leclerc as he drove on the C4 soft tyre during the afternoon session.

This first round of pre-season testing was behind closed doors as the teams saw their cars on track for the first time. Pre-season testing is all about understanding the handling of the car and gaining data to help improve the performance.

Norris’ race pace in the new MCL36 has proven McLaren’s potential for the 2022 season, which could possibly see them be a title contender.

However, the Brit has shared his opinions on his performance and what it means in terms of expectations. He is cautious as to what it means in terms of the pressure to perform.

Whilst testing does give teams a good idea of their cars, it is “way too early to tell anything”.

Norris has said that at the time of his fast lap, they were “only on day one of the season”. There is still another set of pre-season testing to happen before the first race. He knows that despite being “amazing now”, by the time of the first race “everything could change”.

McLaren have had support from fans and have been rumoured to be a likely choice for one of the best teams in 2022. But with the new cars, anything can happen.

The rate of development in the “first half” of the season is “going to be extremely high” according to Norris.

Norris achieved his maiden pole last year at Sochi and has gone from strength-to-strength throughout his career. But despite his impressive time yesterday, he admitted he “didn’t want to be P1”.

He said:

“If anything, I would rather be last because now the expectations are so high and everyone thinks we’re incredible.”

Day two of pre-season testing in Barcelona is underway today and he expects others to “go much quicker” than his is 1 minute 19.568seconds.

The new cars are designed to promote closer racing and Norris has said that the extra weight on the car makes it “quite sluggish”. However, he still felt “confident quite quickly” in the MCL36.

He added that he felt the car was “not too different”. Obviously there are some changes, for example things are “bigger” and there are “smaller things”, but it is nothing to drastic.

Norris said that the main changes is the “feeling” a driver gets. He elaborated saying it is the “feelings in the brake pedal, under acceleration and steering” that are different to last year. But Norris is “waiting to see what happens”.

He was one of the few drivers yesterday to run over 100 laps and he felt that it was crucial to the team’s development. He said that whilst they were “planning to do” a few more laps, they did have “a few problems here and there”.

One of which saw the MCl36 stop at the pit-lane exit and have to be wheeled back to the garage.

Daniel Ricciardo is testing his new car today for day two. Whether he will produce a similar lap time to his teammate is unknown but Norris’ driving yesterday was a “good start” which will set up the team for “the next few days”.

Feature Image Credit: formula1.com

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