Norris admits McLaren ‘need more’ to consistently challenge Ferrari and Red Bull despite victory in Miami

IMOLA, ITALY - MAY 16: Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren attends the Drivers Press

Lando Norris believes that McLaren still need to take another step in order to pose more of a consistent threat to Red Bull and Ferrari, despite the Briton taking his first win in F1 last time out in Miami.

After displaying good pace on a weekend where the team had arrived with upgrades on the car, Norris then capitalised on a mid-race Safety Car during Sunday’s Grand Prix by making a quick pit stop and emerging back on track in the lead. From there he went on to take victory ahead of championship leader Max Verstappen.

READ MORE: Stella highlights the ‘important’ lessons McLaren learned from Sochi 2021 after Norris’s breakthrough win

Asked during the build-up to this weekend’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix if he is still on cloud nine following his debut win, Norris explained that his focus has switched to trying to replicate that success again.

“I celebrated appropriately for the occasion, but it’s another weekend so I’ve got to make sure I’m prepared and ready to go,” the Briton said. “You still think of it a lot, I still think of it now.

“But at the same time, as much as you want to keep it in your mind, you have to turn your focus to the next weekend, to this one, and hopefully try to replicate a similar thing. [It was] an amazing weekend, one I’ll probably remember for the rest of my life, so incredible and [I] made the most of it. As much as I loved it, it’s now on to the next.”

2024 Miami Grand Prix: Lando Norris crosses the line to take his first ever F1 victory

While McLaren’s updates performed well at the Miami International Autodrome, Norris is confident that Imola can be an even better track for the team.

“I think we are just better suited to Imola, and potentially the upgrade a little bit as well,” he commented. “Imola has generally been one of our most successful tracks as a team and for me as a driver.

PALMER: Norris’s first win was well deserved – now the challenge is on to battle Verstappen at Imola and beyond

“We definitely took a step forward. From what I know, other teams have upgrades too, so I don’t think we’re getting ahead of ourselves. I know I’ve put good confidence forward to the team, I’ve said that we’re confident we can take steps forward.

“But I think I made it clear that we’re not going to be there every weekend. I was still sixth at the time and I was lucky last weekend with the Safety Car and the strategy worked out perfectly, but that’s how races go sometimes.

"I wasn’t just first because I was the quickest at the time, but I was quickest on track and I think that was the first good sign we had, and then it turned into something more. We were quickest at the time on track and I think the whole weekend was turning into something good – we were showing that the car had made some good steps forward.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 05: Race winner Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren, Second placed Max

Norris shared the podium in Miami with rivals Verstappen and Leclerc, but the Briton believes that McLaren have work to do to consistently challenge Red Bull and Ferrari

“But we need more if we want to challenge Ferrari more consistently, if we want to challenge Red Bull more consistently. The team are doing a great job, they made some good steps and we have more things hopefully coming in the future, and those are what we need to beat them more often.”

Asked where he would place McLaren in the pecking order with the upgrades on board, Norris responded: “We’re third.”

READ MORE: ‘I want to do it with McLaren’ – F1’s newest winner Lando Norris on loyalty to his team, and taking the fight to Verstappen

While he acknowledges that closing the gap is “not an easy task", Norris is confident that the Woking-based outfit can continue to move forwards based on the rate of their progression in recent times.

“I’m not over confident, I’m not under confident – I feel like I’m at a good balance of accepting where we are, and I still think we’re the third best team at the minute, but that could change if we have another good weekend here,” the 24-year-old added.

“I’m confident with how the team are doing with our rate of development, which is better than any other team on the grid, that next year we can challenge a lot more often for wins, and in the big picture, hopefully challenge for a title.”



Coming Up

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Norris says he needed ‘one or two more laps’ after agonisingly missing out on Imola victory to Verstappen