Lando Norris says McLaren’s 2023 car is now “what we should have started the year with” after the team brought an upgrade package for the MCL60 to this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Oscar Piastri incurred damage early on.
However the pair finished in the top 10 at the last round in Australia, scoring a combined 12 points to move McLaren into fifth place in the constructors’ championship.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Norris said he believes McLaren have now reached the level of performance that they should have begun the 2023 season with.
“I don’t want to get ahead of myself,” Norris said. “I think Australia was definitely a better weekend for us. Things definitely went our way a little bit more.
“I think we were unlucky, which made things look worse than they were in the first two races. We do have the upgrade – I think that was made clear and obvious very early on in the season. But what we have now, it’s what we should have started the year with.”
Norris said McLaren now have more potential to build on the performance of their car for the season ahead having addressed the issues that had cost them relative to their midfield rivals in the opening rounds of the year.
“A lot of other teams also have upgrades, so our job is to try and bring slightly bigger things and try to play a little bit of catch-up,” Norris explained.
“I think what we have this weekend is just the baseline we should have started the year with and it’s about understanding what we have now. It’s a better baseline, it’s more room for opportunities and more room for improvements with what we have.
“So it’s going to make us take a small step forward, but to all the people who also bring upgrades, it’s going to be smaller. I’m excited, the team did a very good job to bring these things through and to get them ready, but it’s about maximising what we have now.”
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