McLaren was in a position to retain its place because the midfield chief from 2020 through the opening race weekend in Bahrain final month as Norris completed fourth, solely trailing Mercedes and Crimson Bull vehicles.
However Friday’s apply operating at Imola noticed Ferrari take an enormous step ahead in comparison with its displaying in Bahrain as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz Jr completed each periods within the high six.
Sainz ended FP2 as the lead Ferrari in fourth place behind each Mercedes vehicles and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, with team-mate Leclerc simply behind in fifth regardless of a late crash.
By comparability, Norris might solely end the day eighth for McLaren, lapping over six-tenths slower than former team-mate Sainz.
The leap ahead by Ferrari didn’t come as any shock to Norris, although, who mentioned the indicators of its true tempo have been already obvious in Bahrain.
“In Bahrain they have been undoubtedly faster than us within the majority of corners – not all of them – however right here they appear very fast,” Norris advised Sky Sports activities.
“I do not assume it is one thing we did not anticipate. Possibly they are a bit faster than we anticipated, however we knew some races they’d be forward and a few races we would be forward.
“It is Ferrari, if there’s one crew in the intervening time that is going to make an enormous enchancment someplace it is them.
“So it’s not a shock. Possibly that little bit quicker than we anticipated, however not a shock.”
Carlos Sainz Jr., Ferrari SF21
Photograph by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Norris led McLaren’s efforts by means of second apply at Imola as team-mate Daniel Ricciardo completed 18th within the FP2 standings.
Norris felt the McLaren MCL35M was not adjusting to the calls for of the Imola observe as swiftly because it did in Bahrain three weeks in the past, saying the crew “haven’t bought the automotive in an excellent place simply but”.
“It is not settled right down to this observe as simply because it did to Bahrain,” Norris defined.
“It’s a bit bit more durable, but it surely’s form of what we anticipated from what we knew from final 12 months. We struggled a bit bit extra right here evaluating to Bahrain too, however just a few tracks the automotive goes higher on.
“This is likely one of the ones we knew was going to be a bit harder for us. However we made some good enhancements from FP1 to FP2 so hopefully into tomorrow we are able to make one other little step.”