Since the team’s troubled first event of 2022 in Bahrain, where both McLaren drivers finished outside the top 10, Norris has scored points in every race apart from Miami, where he had a collision with Pierre Gasly.
Norris says that the car has been good at most circuits, although he still has some concerns about particular types of corners and some upcoming circuits where the current car’s predecessor struggled last year.
“I think there are some slightly tougher areas,” Norris said. “I want to believe in general we’ve probably improved the car on average through all the tracks.
“I think there’s still a few which we’re yet to go to where we struggled a lot last season, and I think are different in terms of characteristics to all of the ones that we’ve been to. So places like Zandvoort, and things like that.
“We’re still yet to explore all of the ranges of types of corners and tracks and so on. But I want to believe and I think I have some confidence in saying that we’ve improved the car throughout most of these areas. And what we need now is in general just a whole package upgrade, I think.”
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36
While much of the focus this year has been on Daniel Ricciardo‘s struggles to adjust to the new car, Norris says that he’s had his own issues in trying to adapt.
He’s hoping that some forthcoming updates will help to make the car suit him more.
“It’s handling reasonably well,” he said. “But there’s definitely types of characteristics that I personally as a driver I still want more from the car in, and it’s just hard to go in that direction.
“I think what Daniel and I want from the car is quite similar, but there’s definitely differences in some driving styles and stuff, and I sometimes bias my car more one way than what he does kind of thing.
“It’s also down to personally how I feel I want to drive the car. And I believe there’s good lap time in going in that direction. But it’s just a hard thing to improve on, especially from one race to the next.
“But I think over the next races and next months, and hopefully when we can bring some more bits to the car, then we can move in that direction.”
Asked about the team’s place in the pecking order Norris indicated that the midfield is too close to make a definitive call.
“I think we’ve just been consistently good, especially since Bahrain, maybe not in Bahrain. But since then, we’ve just had a package which performs decently at every track, which is always a good thing, to be there every time , and to be in the points.
“I think we were probably ahead of Mercedes in Monaco. So around third, fourth, fifth, maybe sixth area, but I think it’s a close group. So as long as we’re towards the front of that, I’ll be happy.”
Lando Norris, McLaren
Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images
Norris indicated that he is confident that the car will be competitive in Baku this weekend.
“I would say so, just off how we’ve been doing lately this year,” he noted. “Barcelona was a decent race, could have been a little bit better, and Monaco was a strong weekend for us.
“Many things can happen here, and there’s always unexpected people on the podium and stuff like that. So as long as we’re in that position and we’re there at the end of the race to potentially be in that position, then that’s the aim.”
Regarding what he needed from a car in Baku he said: “Straightline speed is always a lovely thing! I think you need a car which gives you good confidence, as always, especially with the braking, in braking there’s always good time to find.
“It’s still that street circuit vibe, so there’s less room for error than on normal circuits.
“So being able to position the car where you want, being able to brake how you want, you need that confidence in the car to be able to find the limits and to gradually find the walls and things like that, and use all the track space. So just a good car, with good confidence.”