Although Friday’s practices may seem to be an improvement on paper, Lando Norris remains cautious about McLaren’s prospects in this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
Norris’ times in FP1 and FP2 saw him sit in 7th and 8th respectively with the Brit clocking 36 laps after Friday’s running.
In his first Formula 1 visit to his hometown, team-mate Oscar Piastri also got out of the blocks quickly and ended both of Friday’s sessions within 0.2 seconds of the Brit.
Speaking about Friday’s running, Norris revealed that he sacrificed time to conduct aerodynamic testing as McLaren bids to improve its pace.
“Actually, it was a productive day,” Norris said.
“In FP1 we sacrificed a lot of time to do some aero runs. That’s why I didn’t do a lot of running in the first half.
“It was more kind of future work than stuff for this weekend.
“FP2 was my first few proper runs on the hard tyre which is a reasonably tricky tyre, But I felt comfortable pretty quickly.
“So far so good, it’s hard to say because I didn’t do the most amount of running, but from the little I did, I think we got a good reading and understanding ahead of tomorrow.”
The midfield remains incredibly tight at this stage, and Norris isn’t ready to get his hopes up ahead of qualifying.
When asked about his prospects of making Q3 on Saturday, Norris said:
“It’s going to be tough. I think [the gap] between where I was now, P8 and P16 was just over two-tenths.
“I don’t know, I don’t think at the moment I’m that confident. We don’t know what fuel loads and power settings everyone is on.
“I think it’s a good feeling from my side, I’ll get some more seat time tomorrow to keep pushing and make up for today, but some positive signs so far.”