Lando Norris, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2021

Norris expects no extraordinary results from McLaren’s “rocket” in Baku

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Lando Norris doubts McLaren will be in the running for a strong result this weekend after the rivals talked up their straight-line speed advantage.

After he finished third in the Monaco Grand Prix, Norris’ rivals Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz Jnr talked up McLaren’s chances at Baku, a circuit dominated by long straights. The pair described the Mercedes-powered MCL35M as a “rocket”.

Norris, who has taken two podium finishes from the first five races so far this year, isn’t convinced their performance will be that strong.

“I think we can be confident and optimistic [that] we can go well,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be anything extraordinary or unexpected.

“We have a good car and we’ve shown that over the first five races of the season that we have a decent car in most of the tracks. But I don’t think we can be confident saying we’re going to be quicker than Mercedes or Red Bull.

“We’ll do our best to keep our heads down and try and get another result like last time.”

However, his team mate Daniel Ricciardo said the team’s straight-line performance does give him added confidence for this weekend’s race.

“This circuit is a fun one,” said Ricciardo, who won the 2017 edition of the race for Red Bull.

“Monaco is Monaco but I think Baku is just as tricky and it’s very different. We run less downforce because of the straight so in a way the cornering is maybe even more difficult here. But you do have a bit more time and space to think about the next corner and gather your thoughts and have a breather. So it’s kind of a different tempo, but still the same intensity.”

Ricciardo is eager to return to action after a disappointing Monaco Grand Prix in which he failed to score points for the first time this year.

“I think we’ll be alright,” he said. “Obviously I’m just looking forward to getting getting back out.

“When a weekend doesn’t go well, you can’t wait to get back in the car to try and obviously do better so I’m just looking forward to going racing again.”

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2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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4 comments on “Norris expects no extraordinary results from McLaren’s “rocket” in Baku”

  1. McLaren were spectacularly fast at Monza last year, with Sainz and Norris running just behind Hamilton even before the safety car, but they weren’t that great at Spa, so it’s not clear to me that on a power circuit with a wider variety of corners the car is that fast (though obviously the Mercedes engine is going to help – a reason I think Norris is a decent bet for victory at Monza, but anyway, we’re in Baku….).

  2. Unlike Ferrari, who are reliable contenders for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory every time of asking, McLaren, with their operational strength and an in-form driver in Norris, will be more than capable of taking a win if they’re anywhere close to Red Bull and Merc.

  3. Given that Norris has already been on the podium twice this year, I can’t realistically see McLaren doing any better at Baku than they already have elsewhere.

  4. This is the strongest McLaren team since 2011-2012.

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