Lando Norris will start Sunday’s Austrian Grand Prix from fourth after an impressive qualifying display at the Red Bull Ring, but was left ruing a mistake which cost the chance of starting third.
Norris’ fourth place in qualifying comes by virtue of the first instalment of upgrades to the MCL60 which are to be spread across the next month.
The first phase of the development path for McLaren saw a fully redesigned floor, sidepods and engine cover introduced to Norris’ car.
While the upgrades assisted Norris on his way to qualifying fourth for the Austrian Grand Prix, but the Brit was left frustrated saying that he ‘should have had Carlos [Sainz]’. A gain that would have promoted the McLaren driver to third.
When asked if he was delighted with his qualifying performance, Norris hesitantly told F1TV: “I really am to be honest, but I messed up my lap a bit.
“Should have had Carlos, just a should’ve, so I’m still very happy. P4 is a very good result for us, especially for a main quali.”
Norris explained the mistake further when speaking to the media in the paddock, saying: “It’s difficult to commit. The last corner is a very tricky corner because you kind of hit the kerb on the entry, which makes the car very nervous and I just missed the apex by a little bit and as it compresses, if you miss it, you understeer so badly, and so I just crapped myself and I thought I was on track limits and I just had to back out of it.
“So it definitely cost me P3 which I’m a bit annoyed by because I would have loved to beat Carlos. But I’m happy with P4.”
Norris was pleased with the latest upgrades brought to the MCL60 which he described as “definitely a step forward.”
“I don’t know any of the true numbers yet,” he explained.
“There have definitely been things that are shown to have improved. I have more confidence with the car in certain places. I wouldn’t say it’s changed everything.
“It’s not like the characteristic is loads better. So, but at the same time, we didn’t expect it to be a lot better. We just expected like a global improvement which it’s done..
“And I think, today we’ve managed to prove it even on the short circuit, so it makes us look a bit better. Even if you doubled it and say, well half a second off, I think we’d still be happy with it.”
Despite the boost in performance, the 23-year-old was hesitant to praise the upgrades too much just based on this afternoon’s qualifying performance.
“So, this track has also been, I’m always a negative guy, so this track’s always been a good one for us so I don’t want to get too ahead of myself and say it’s amazing.
“I’d like to wait to Silverstone for that one, but, like I said, the team did a good job to get everything here and to make such a big step so far. So, it’s down to me on Sunday, to turn it into some points.”
McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri was left without the latest components and will start Sunday’s race from 13th.