Lando Norris, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2023

Norris has done ‘everything I can’ to be more consistent qualifier in 2024

Formula 1

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Lando Norris worked on improving his consistency during qualifying laps in McLaren’s simulator during the off-season.

He was unhappy with some of his qualifying performances towards the end of last season when mistakes cost him vital positions on the starting grid.

Following an error during grand prix qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix which saw his have his final Q3 time deleted for track limits, leaving him tenth on the grid, Norris was particularly harsh in his assessment of his performance.

“I’m just so stupid,” he told race engineer Will Joseph over team radio after completing his lap. “I should be on pole. I just fuck it up too much, I’m sorry.”

Three rounds later in Brazil, Norris was again unhappy with his final lap in the last phase of sprint qualifying after making an error in the first corner, despite taking pole position for the sprint race.

“Well done, I guess,” he said over radio after being told he had secured pole. “I don’t know why it feels so bad, but so good.”

Asked by RaceFans what he had done to ensure he would be more consistent in qualifying over the upcoming season, Norris said he had been working on single-lap performance in the team’s simulator.

“It’s been various things already, both in terms of in how I drive, how I work in extracting the performance during laps,” said Norris. “Understanding these traits and these things and also then putting them already to the test on the simulator and trying to improve them.

“Sometimes it’s hard to improve various things until you’re actually in the car and performing it, but to the extent of what I can – even if it’s mental things at the same time, trying to work on any area that I can to improve it – I would say I have done. But it’s always a different experience until you get back in the car and you’re in that moment again, until you can really try to try things during that pressure and during those moments.”

Despite working on improving his qualifying performances, Norris admits he will have to wait until the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix weekend to put his preparation to the test.

“I’ve done what I can with various things, with my team that I have around me,” he said. “But it’s hard to know I guess, until the first qualifying of the season, how well those things might work, whether they have or not and what further things might need to be done to improve in those areas.”

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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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9 comments on “Norris has done ‘everything I can’ to be more consistent qualifier in 2024”

  1. Good luck with it this season, since it does seem like that was his largest issue last season.

  2. Will be interesting since he got outqualified by Oscar after Spa last year. Given that Oscar is likely to take a bigger step than Lando will, I am curious to see how Lando responds to this challenge.

    F1 grid right now has many fast drivers but none consistently fast enough to beat a dominant combination, although that combination might have set itself on fire with the entire TP saga.

    1. I disagree. Lando has not peaked yet

    2. I do think that Oscar will improve most in races from last year though, since he seemed to get to grips with qualifying well enough, but on race pace he lacked some of the skill with making the tyres work over the distance.

      I hope both of them can improve and be consistent challengers for the top of the field, but there could well be differences depending on track where the one or the other does better.

  3. Too hard on himself, when the car is only capable of pole for a couple of races a year it just really stands out if you make a mistake in one of those races. Was he really less consistent overall than any other driver? I’d love to see the stats on that…

    1. @skipgamer I agree with that. Lando had a great season last year, it’ll probably be worse for his development long term if he lets these couple of things get to him rather than focussing on the vast array of positives from the season.

      1. I think that for him it’s a matter of working on some of the obvious issues – he DID make too many mistakes that made a qualifying that could be great a bit of a downer over the last few years. If he manages to find a better approach there and can grab more of those chances, that will make his racing far easier at times.

  4. Piastri has been a very good team mate for Norris. At the least he has pushed him to his absolute best, neither Sainz nor Ricciardo managed that.

    1. Obviously ricciardo was not the same driver as he was back at red bull, so norris didn’t really have a strong team mate those 2 years, though doing better than sainz in comparison to norris in the first season is a good result by piastri.

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