McLaren completed third in final 12 months’s constructors’ championship and the Woking outfit is tipped to verify its standing as better of the remainder behind Purple Bull and Mercedes in 2021.
Whereas McLaren drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Norris certified sixth and seventh respectively in Bahrain, behind a Ferrari and an AlphaTauri, Norris labored his manner as much as fourth as the very best finisher not driving for one of many two prime groups.
When requested by Autosport if the 2021 season opener confirmed that McLaren is on prime of the midfield battle, Norris mentioned it is “laborious to say” if the group is better of the remainder however was inspired by the truth that McLaren is nearer to Purple Bull and Mercedes than final 12 months.
“We’re shut, we’re not miles away from Mercedes and Purple Bull evaluating to final season,” Norris answered.
“I feel we have closed the hole fairly a bit and hopefully at some tracks shut it much more.
“It is laborious to say if we’re simply better of the remainder, I do not know what the tempo of the AlphaTauri was like, however I feel the automotive is sweet.”
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari SF21
Photograph by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
Norris certified behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, however after a two-lap tussle within the opening levels he managed to cross the Monegasque driver into Flip 1 after which comfortably drove away.
AlphaTauri’s race tempo is extra of an unknown because of fifth-starting Pierre Gasly hitting the again of Ricciardo on the opening lap, however his rookie team-mate Yuki Tsunoda confirmed the Faenza group has potential on his drive from 13th to ninth.
Norris expects McLaren’s battle with Ferrari and AlphaTauri to “go backwards and forwards” all season however was assured McLaren’s race tempo could be superior to Ferrari’s in Bahrain.
“Yeah, I feel we form of knew that from the runs in FP2 and the check we did right here,” Norris defined.
“I feel we have got an understanding of what [Ferrari] can do.
“Even final 12 months Charles was forward of us in qualifying and the Ferrari may be very fast in qualifying.
“Throughout the races they appeared to wrestle.
“I feel we had been simply clearly faster on tempo, which was an excellent factor, however there’s going to be some races most likely the place they will take care of the tyres higher and be a lot faster.
“It is going to go backwards and forwards between us and Ferrari and with AlphaTauri it appears fairly shut between us, so I am wanting ahead to the battle.”