Norris optimistic McLaren can maintain strong Friday form

Lando Norris says McLaren can definitely remain competitive for the top positions at the Dutch Grand Prix as long as it doesn’t make any mistakes.

An interrupted FP2 saw Norris set the pace, beating Red Bull’s Max Verstappen by just 0.023s on the qualifying simulations in the second session. That came after teammate Oscar Piastri had crashed earlier on, but Norris doesn’t believe that clouded the competitive picture too much and says multiple teams will be targeting high grid positions on Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be very close come tomorrow,” Norris said. “It’s a short track — it’s going to be very tight, between many people… You have the Williams there, Alpine are there, AlphaTauris are there, so it’s just going to be a scrap, a lot of people fighting for the top spot.


“It’s going to make it easy to do both things — not easy to get to the top but easy to get knocked out early on, and reward you well if you do a good job. It’s going to be tough. We can stay there, just no mistakes.”

Norris says McLaren knew it wouldn’t show any relative performance until FP2, having prioritized data gathering in first practice on Friday.

“It’s good to be back in the car. (I was) feeling a little bit rusty, I will say, (but) a few laps and you’re back in it. But a good day for us.

“We sacrificed quite a bit of FP1 to do a lot of aero running so we were a little bit behind on learning and trying and testing some things, but valuable stuff for the future. I think to end up how we did today was encouraging and makes us look forward to tomorrow.”

There was also some words of comfort for Piastri, as Norris praised his performances up to this point and expects the rookie to shake off his crash.

“He can do it himself. It’s not up to me — I’m not the one driving his car. He’ll be all right, he’s done a good job so far. It happens, that’s it — he’s cool.”

Story originally appeared on Racer