McLaren driver Lando Norris says his team has a lot of work to do and areas to improve on to challenge top teams, and he saw Ferrari have a strong pace in racing simulation in the first pre-season tests. McLaren and Ferrari held the top positions two weeks ago during three days of testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Norris was at the top of the first day, and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at the top of the second, after which Lewis Hamilton and George Russell put Mercedes on top of the third and final day of testing, but on the softest tire component.
Norris, who quickly slowed McLaren’s pace, claims he would rather finish last to keep expectations under control, believing Mercedes and Red Bull with a strong Ferrari are still ahead of them despite resetting the 2022 rules.
"Mercedes never looks so good in testing - until the first race. If they are good at testing, it means they will probably be amazing until the first race, ”Lando said. "So I don't think everyone works on their programs, they all have different fuel loads, power modes and whatever." “We can see the picture, we can see that we are in a decent position, but then Mercedes and Ferrari looked really good from day one.
They were at the top of the table every time, and their long stints look good, ”he explains. "Ferrari looks very strong, but Mercedes and Red Bull are here with us and if nothing else, I'd say they're a little ahead at the moment." Norris, who admitted that McLaren's test "was not perfect", stressed that his team has a lot of room for improvement if it wants to make a breakthrough and challenge top teams.
"Personally, I feel we have a lot of work to do as a team if we want to fight them," the Briton added. “It’s expected, but I think we know we still have a lot of things to improve to get to the level they are,” Lando concluded.
Russell and Norris on Mercedes
Although his Mercedes was the fastest in the first pre-season tests in Barcelona, George Russell believes that Ferrari and McLaren are currently faster and said that both teams had ‘everything under control’.
Russell pointed out that Mercedes is currently ‘not ahead’ even though they had the fastest times in the pre-season tests in Barcelona. But the Silver Arrows were the only leading teams to ride on the softest C5 tires, and Russell was particularly impressed by Ferrari and McLaren.
Both teams performed at a very high level of testing in Barcelona — the focus was on understanding the car and gathering laps, but the behavior of the car suggested that both Ferrari and McLaren did a very good job over the winter.
McLaren was the fastest car in fast corners, according to reports from the German AMuS in Barcelona, while Ferrari was the best in slow corners. "Some teams look very fast — especially the red (Ferrari) and orange (McLaren) teams look competitive.
They (Ferrari and McLaren) had everything under control." "They had a solution for everything. They looked strong with both an empty and a full tank, and their storage of tires is also strong. We know we all have different programs, but we are definitely behind them right now, we know that from average times, ”Russell said.
McLaren driver Lando Norris, however, does not take Russell's comments too seriously and disagrees with his compatriot. "George was at the top of the time table, so if he thinks we're strong — we'll think they're strong.
If there are teams that you think will be strong when the time comes, then it will definitely be Mercedes and Red Bull, "added Norris.
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