‘People will probably go much quicker than me’ – Norris plays down session-topping time on Day 1 in Spain
Lando Norris and McLaren topped the timesheets on the first day of testing in Barcelona, but the Briton said his benchmark was far from unbeatable as he climbed out of the MCL36.
Norris, who completed 103 laps around the Catalunya circuit, went fastest with a time of 1m 19.568s, besting the previous leading time set by Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc in the morning. However, despite a successful day, Norris played down expectations.
“I didn’t want to be P1 – if anything I would rather be last,” said Norris. “Because now expectations will be so high and everyone thinks we are incredible, but I think we were just on a different run plan to the other people. I think we will see in the next few days, people will probably go much quicker than what I did. It was still a good day, we learnt a lot of things – I learnt a lot of things.”
Despite setting the fastest time of the day, there was some cause for concern for the squad from Woking when Norris stopped the car at the end of the pit lane as he was heading out after lunch. However, he was not overly worried by the issue.
“A couple of minutes and I was back on track again. You know, it’s early, it's cold, fingers don’t work properly on the keyboards. No, it’s just first day back at work, couple of problems that’s all.”
Norris went on to give his opinion on the brand-new 2022 cars, which he said were not too different to drive.
“I mean honestly, they're not too different. Of course, people are expecting so many differences,” said Norris with a laugh. “There are definitely some bigger things, some smaller things, some more obvious than others. It’s not like this car is going to go 20 seconds slower or 20 seconds faster; it’s going to be fairly similar on pace, [or] a bit slower, because it’s still so early in development.
“It’s still a Formula 1 car and it’s still going to go just as quick as last year. So, things can’t change that much but it’s just a feeling you have, the feelings in the brake pedal, under acceleration and steering, that are different to last year, but not in a surprising way – a lot of it was just as expected, waiting to see what happens.
“But all good things, just trying to make progress for tomorrow,” he concluded.
Team mate Daniel Ricciardo, who is one of five drivers yet to appear in pre-season running, will take over from Norris on Thursday. The 22-year-old is back in the MCL36 on Friday.