Lando Norris says fourth place was on the cards for McLaren during qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, leaving him “disappointed” at the end of the session.
Norris ended the outing in seventh place, taking his best qualifying result of the season to date.
This weekend, McLaren has introduced a raft of upgrades with Norris stating that the car is now where it should’ve been at the start of the year in Bahrain.
After using FP1 to get up to speed, Norris qualified just two-tenths of a second away from Carlos Sainz in fourth and feels the Ferrari driver’s position was well within reach.
“I think before today, we 100 per cent would’ve taken it [P7],” Norris told Sky Sports. “I think it’s a great result, the sequence of upgrades worked well.
“The car was working well on this circuit at the same time, I feel like I was doing a better job on my driving and things.
“It should’ve been a lot better, I think we should’ve been P4 today. A bit disappointed honestly.”
Norris added that McLaren’s tyre plan will leave it vulnerable during Saturday’s sessions.
“We as a team didn’t do the best job making the correct decisions of what to do. But apart from that, things were positive,” he said.
“We just put ourselves in the middle of nowhere for having a P7 today with not being able to do the runs tomorrow with the new tyre.
“Mixed minds, many positive things if you look at it from that side. The team has done a great job getting the parts here and I like them to work straight away.
“We had good confidence that we could put them on things [would] run cleanly, and that’s what happened.”
McLaren scored its first points of the 2023 season last time out in Melbourne, with Norris taking sixth following a chaotic conclusion to the grand prix.
As he looks to add to his tally in Baku, the Briton suggested that the circuit characteristics suit the McLaren package.
“We’ve been pushing hard to try and get some drag off the car, we were running, compared to what we have been [running], a much lower downforce [set-up],” he said.
“The new floor is working well, adding new things here and there which always adds up. This track, we’re good in the braking zones, we’re good in straight-line braking.
“If you look at Australia, we weren’t bad. We’ve just added to that and maybe this track suits us again that little touch more.
“We’re still one second off, maybe we should’ve been eight-tenths off. We should’ve been four [sic] positions higher.”