Lando Norris feels McLaren is behind on development when compared to Mercedes and Red Bull. The Briton believes the two teams are likely to remain on top in 2022 despite the various regulatory changes.
McLaren and Ferrari impressed on the first day of pre-season testing in Barcelona, with Norris setting the fastest time of the day. Charles Leclerc had the fastest time on the second day of testing, beating the rest of the grid by a significant amount of time. Mercedes, however, fought back strongly on the third and final day, with Lewis Hamilton topping the charts, followed by new team-mate George Russell in P2.
Lando Norris expects Mercedes to be blazingly fast based on their stellar performances on the third day of testing. The Briton feels as though the Silver Arrows will be competent right off the bat in the first race in Bahrain. He said:
“Mercedes never look like that good in testing – until they get to the first race. If they’re good in testing, it means they’re probably going to be incredible by the first race. So, no, I think everyone is working on their own programmes, everyone is on different fuel loads and power modes and whatever. We can see a picture, we can see we are in decent position, but then Mercedes and Ferrari have looked very good since day one. They’ve been at the top of the timesheets every single time and their long run pace looks good.”
George Russell does not wish to play mind games with Lando Norris
Mercedes driver George Russell claims he does not wish to play mind games with McLaren driver Lando Norris. Each driver was trying to draw media attention away from their respective teams ahead of the new season.
Russell was all praise for Ferrari and McLaren during the initial phase of the pre-season testing period. Much like Norris, Russell claims the two teams are ahead of Mercedes when it comes to development.
Speaking about the possibility of playing mind games with Lando, he said:
“I can’t be bothered with mind games, it’s too much effort. No, there are no mind games. We’re just working on our own program and, to be honest, it is absolutely unrepresentative what we’ve seen during testing. You know who is probably in the top half, and you know who’s in the bottom half, but when it comes to qualifying you’ve got tenths of a second splits between [teams], which is the equivalent of five kilos worth of fuel. Maybe Lando [Norris] is playing mind games, but we’re not!”
While it is still unclear whether either driver truly believes their comments about the other, it is certain that both Lando Norris and George Russell have found pace in their 2022 cars.