Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Albert Park, 2022

Norris and Ricciardo cautious over McLaren’s pace after “best Friday so far”

2022 Australian Grand Prix

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McLaren drivers Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are keeping their expectations in check despite finishing both practice sessions at Albert Park in the top 10.

Norris and Ricciardo set the fifth and eighth fastest times, respectively, in the morning sessions before ending Friday eighth and tenth fastest in the afternoon’s running.

However, despite describing the day as McLaren’s best Friday of the short season so far, Norris says that the improved pace may have more to do with the revised Albert Park layout than the minimal changes to their car.

“It looked alright. It wasn’t amazing – it was decent,” said Norris. “Probably our best Friday so far, so I’m hoping it can continue into tomorrow because we have a good feeling.

“We’re extracting everything we can out of the car and I think we’re doing a good job, but a lot of what you’re seeing is just the track.

“Of course there’ll be some little things that we’re improving. But when I say ‘little’, it’s like maybe one tenth or something. It’s not going to make us half a second quicker or one second.”

Norris believes that McLaren have begun to apply lessons they have learned about their MCL36 over the first two race weekends to help develop the car in the right direction.

“I think we made a few changes, and we’ve learned a bit this weekend already and from the previous few weekends that we’ve implemented and I think that is working reasonably well,” said Norris. “So we’ve taken a small step forward. It’s a good start and hopefully over tonight we can continue that into tomorrow and make a couple further improvements.”

Norris’s team mate Ricciardo felt he was approaching the limit of the car’s performance during the afternoon practice session.

“I think we found a good step this afternoon,” Ricciardo said. “Especially the first part of the session on the medium, I was pretty happy there.

“I think with the soft, we didn’t find as much as we can. So there’s more to come, I think, from that tyre. I felt like I was getting getting on the limit today. I don’t have a second in my pocket, but of course, you’ll find a little more as the weekend goes on.”

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2022 Australian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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4 comments on “Norris and Ricciardo cautious over McLaren’s pace after “best Friday so far””

  1. I think it’s going to be an epic scrap between McLaren and alpine for 4th in the constructors this year.

    1. @emu55 I’m more pessimistic about Mclaren than you, but anything’s possible.

  2. Well if they know what the problem is they are halfway to fixing it. I’m hopeful they can get on top of the problems and at least worry the front runners a little. It’s a long season and they are a very motivated team with a lot of experience.

  3. The Dolphins
    8th April 2022, 14:58

    From a logistics standpoint Italy, in two weeks time, is the earliest we can see “significant” upgrades and those upgrades will be largely based on the data gathered from the Bahrain test. Unfortunately for McLaren there was not much testing done in Bahrain so there was limited data.

    The next significant track to bring updates to would be Spain, a month later, which provides teams a very good comparison (depending on weather) to the pre-season “shakedown.”

    Mercedes, given they didn’t get much useful data on their real design in Spain will be going off slow/medium/high-speed corner data from each track to compare any upgrades they bring.

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