Lando Norris says the fight for fourth in the Drivers’ Championship “makes me push a little harder” but is wary of the threat posed by Renault.
Formula 1’s leading trio – Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen – hold a commanding advantage but a litany of drivers are in the fight for fourth.
Norris currently holds the position on 65 points, with Alexander Albon on 64, Daniel Ricciardo on 63, Charles Leclerc and Lance Stroll on 57, and Sergio Perez on 56.
“We had a very good start to the year, I think we maximised a lot of the first few races and we had a very strong start as a team, from my side especially, and that gave me the legs up maybe in the beginning,” said Norris.
“But Renault has come on strong towards the middle of the season. I’ve made maybe a couple more mistakes here and there and some of the tracks hasn’t suited us as much as maybe what it has to Renault.
“I think we’re pushing hard, we’re trying to maintain that position but it’s not easy at all.
“One weekend we can be slightly ahead, the next we can be slightly behind, so it’s just trying to make most of the times we’re behind but also make the most of times we have a quicker car and we can score those bigger points.
“I’m excited, it’s nice to go into every weekend with that push, that something that motivates you a little bit more, thinking of things like that.
“Of course I’m not thinking, ‘right, this is what I’m trying to go for in the championship’, every weekend my only goal is to try and maintain that position in the championship.
“It’s something that motivates me and makes me push a little bit harder.”
McLaren introduced a revised front-end section at Mugello and installed it on Norris’ car throughout the weekend at Sochi.
Its prospects were compromised by Carlos Sainz’s Turn 2 crash, which slowed Norris, but the Briton is confident gains have been unearth with the revised structure.
“We started with a very good package which kind of took some time to understand, and this development we have now are things coming off the back of the start of the season and understanding the car better and better with each weekend,” said Norris.
“This car, and these cars nowadays, are very tricky to understand and work on and develop on clearly, so we have a bit of a plan.
“I think we introduced a bit of it last weekend in Russia and this weekend we have more of an evolution of that but it’s still not something that’s going to shoot us to P2 in the championship or make us do anything special.
“It’s trying to put it all together, make sure it works properly in the first place and try and maximise a package which is hopefully a little bit better.”