Lando Norris expects McLaren’s floor upgrade will deliver more benefit at other tracks than the “tiny bit” of improvement in lap time they found in last weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.Baku City Circuit is characterised by several long straights and many low-speed right-angled corners, making straight-line speed a key determiner of performance.
Norris previously said the upgrade McLaren brought last weekend meant their car was now in the configuration it should have begun the season. Besides the usual low-drag customisations for the track’s long straights, McLaren also brought a revised floor to last weekend’s race.
“It isn’t going to help that much in the very slow-speed corners that we have here,” said Norris. “So if you look at it like on a pure lap time basis, probably didn’t help us too much here. A tiny bit, but not too much.
“Maybe in Miami we’ll see some bigger gains with some of the more medium-speed corners, but that’s it for now. It’s a small step forward.”
He is hopeful the revision will give McLaren a platform which allows to make greater gains from their future development work.
“It’s more of a different philosophy to have a baseline with, that is a small step forward, but some of the bigger gains will come in the future,” Norris said.
Norris was seventh fastest in the qualifying session that set the grid for the grand prix. He was then 10th in the ‘Sprint shootout’, though he was unable to participate in the final phase as he lacked a set of new soft tyres required by the rules.
He finished a lowly 17th in the sprint race after a gamble on a set of soft tyres failed to pay off. But he bounced back to score points for ninth place in the grand prix.
“Even when we have an amazing weekend, it’s only a P9,” said Norris. “So it’s hard to gain any big points at the minute unless you have incidents like you had in Australia when you have a P6, and things like that. Difficult to make the most of it. P9 is making the most of it, but we’ll take it for now.”
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