Lando Norris, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2022

Norris “not expecting to fight for pole” despite strong start to weekend

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lando Norris doesn’t expect he will be a contender for pole position this weekend despite ending Friday practice second behind Charles Leclerc.

The McLaren driver took the only pole position of his career so far in Russia last year. He ended a promising Friday two tenths off of Leclerc’s pace in the Ferrari.

Norris’s team mate Daniel Ricciardo Ricciardo also finished in the top five, a further two tenths back, ahead of Sergio Perez’s Red Bull and both Mercedes drivers.

But despite the encouraging pace shown by McLaren, Norris suspects their rivals can unlock performance over the rest of the weekend.

“Our car seems to be suiting this track or its characteristics a little bit more for sure, but we’re always a little bit quicker in P2 than what we end up being normally,” Norris told Sky after Friday’s second practice session.

“We turn up a little bit more than what others do just to get our first reading of qualifying, which is what we got today. We know everyone else – especially Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes – normally step it up a lot for tomorrow.”

However Norris believes McLaren are more competitive around the twisty Hungaroring circuit than they were at Paul Ricard last weekend, where the team secured a double points finish in seventh and ninth.

“We’re feeling good,” he said. “I think I can be happy in saying that the car’s in a reasonable position.

“We’re probably a little bit ahead of where we were in Paul Ricard. But I’m not expecting to be fighting for pole or anything. It’s just we’re definitely in a better position than what we were.”

Heavy rain is expected on Saturday, but given McLaren’s form Norris said he would prefer conditions to stay dry for tomorrow’s qualifying session.

“It can cause opportunities for me, but also for everyone, so the safer bet is for it to stay dry,” Norris said.

“We were pretty decent in the wet here last year – well, I was until turn one! I love those conditions, it’s what I’ve done well in in the past. So I can say yes, but I’m also feeling comfortable in the dry at the minute. So, for now, I want to say that the sunshine can stay.”

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2022 Hungarian 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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One comment on “Norris “not expecting to fight for pole” despite strong start to weekend”

  1. I have been saying this since winter testing, the McLaren looks good but it is very clear they are not quick. they have a big weekeness on braking, the car couldn’t brake at all in the start of the season, they are weak on top speed and it is not like they have lots of grip judging by high downforce track performances.
    Unfortunately it is hard to watch f1 with the poor camera work we have these days but I’d say McLaren were running on the limit, lots of 4 wheel drifts on the fast turns, at least the balance was not catching the drivers, surely low fuel runs.

    I really really hope FOM stops shaking the cameras and zoom in so much, pointless to watch, the broadcast becomes radio at that point.

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