McLaren’s Lando Norris says Ferrari’s high number of mistakes is aiding McLaren’s hopes of finishing third in the Constructors’ Championship for a second year in a row.
The two long-time rivals are locked in a tight fight for third, with Ferrari currently ahead by two points following a stronger showing at the previous three rounds. Whilst Norris conceded that the recent run of races has better suited the SF21, their mistakes on Sunday have also cost them points.
“Quite simply in slow speed corners they are very competitive,” said the Briton of the SF21’s strengths. “They can often be one of the best cars in the very slow speed corners. A couple of the tracks lately have suited them. I’m hoping that we can be a little bit more competitive this weekend, but they are getting better.
“They are always making improvements, as are we, and we are trying to improve in every area. They’ve been very quick on Saturdays. Charles has been on pole twice. But then they have made more mistakes and struggled more on Sundays.
“That is where we have gained some of it back, and looked a bit stronger. So trying to continue that with the points being on Sunday and not Saturday, that is good for us and coming into our favour, but as a car they generally have been quick in qualifying on Saturdays.”
Ferrari have made some strategic errors in the opening races which have cost them positions, whilst Charles Leclerc was unable to start from pole in Monaco after the team failed to identify an issue on his car following a crash on Saturday.
Team-mate Carlos Sainz went off in Baku, costing him several positions, whilst Leclerc lost places at the restart as he tried to take an aggressive approach.
Norris believes his more calculated approach is paying off for McLaren, as the only driver on the grid to have scored at every round of the season so far.
“It is good for me and us as a team,” he said of his consistency. “Especially from where we are in the Constructors’; we are very close with Ferrari, so these kinds of things add up at the end of the season.
“Even if it is one point or two points, it can still make a good difference, so it is good. I’m doing what I can.
“It depends, sometimes you want to take more risks and go for a better position. But also I feel like I have made good decisions to be on the safer side sometimes and not take too many risks.
“Like in Baku, I was down to 12th after lap one and things are not looking so good. But I still ended up fifth. It is good for me and us as a team. And that is what we need to continue.”