Lando Norris made a solid start to the 2021 season in Bahrain. Starting the race in seventh, the young McLaren prodigy was able to climb his way up to fourth in the race, passing Daniel Ricciardo and Charles Leclerc in the process.
Looking back at the race, Lando Norris felt the team needed to make improvements to its single-lap pace. Even at the Bahrain Grand Prix, both McLarens were outqualified by Charles Leclerc even though Lando Norris was able to overtake the Ferrari in the race.
When questioned about where the team stood in comparison to Ferrari Lando Norris felt that while the Ferrari had the edge in terms of single lap pace, Mclaren was stronger in the race trim.
“More because I overtook Charles five, six, seven laps into the race rather than at the start,” Norris said. “That was because we just had a better car and some better speed."
“So it’s a bit of both, 50-50 between us. But it’s not easy and I want it to be easy. So if we do better on Saturday, then I’ll be happy.”
Saturdays are a bit difficult for us: Lando Norris
Lando Norris further explained that it's not only this year, qualifying has been a bit of an Achilles heel for McLaren in the last few years. Traditionally in the last few years, the team has struggled to do well on Saturdays but turned it around on Sundays.
“Saturdays are difficult for us, I think, a little bit like last year,” he added. “We’re maybe a little bit more comfortable on Sundays than Saturdays."
Norris however cautioned against making conclusions after just the first race of the season as things can turn around in different circuits on the calendar.
“But we’re at race one and it’s Bahrain, a track normally we do quite well at. So we need to be at some different tracks a little bit more often, we have to see after some more tracks where we really stand."
“Now I can get to the front and just maintain my tires and everything. But if I had to race a little bit more, maybe it would have been a little bit more difficult and a different story."
“So I don’t want to say anything yet. I don’t want to say anything which isn’t true. But we had a good Sunday, the car was good, so I can be positive about that.”
Lando Norris made a positive start by finishing fourth in the first race of the season. Can he continue to do it for the rest of the season? It would be hard to predict considering how close all the teams are.