Lando Norris has expressed hope that McLaren can repeat its Austria exploits and battle both Aston Martin and Mercedes in this weekend’s British Grand Prix.
The Brit arrives at his home race buoyed by achieving his best performance of the season last time out with the vast upgrades McLaren introduced at the Red Bull Ring.
Unlike in Barcelona earlier this year, Norris was able to convert a high-grid slot (P4) into a sizeable points tally with fifth on race day, which later became fourth when Carlos Sainz was hit with a 10s time penalty.
With McLaren bringing further new parts to Silverstone, Norris is cautiously optimistic that the British outfit can enjoy a similarly strong showing this weekend.
“I’m super-excited,” Norris said. “Finally, my home race for the season.
“So, yeah, I’m feeling good: we’ve come off the back of a very good weekend, I probably couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to come into my home race.
“I’m hoping for something similar [to Austria]. I don’t expect it really to be any better, but I think that’s still me remaining positive. I’m still looking forward to it.
“We definitely took a step forward, we caught up with some of the competition, we overtook a lot of the competition – but Austria has always been our best race of the season, like by quite a way, so I think we can try to maintain that pace this weekend – that’s our aim – doing any better than that is a bit of a stretch but we’re definitely getting there.
“A couple of little things on the car this weekend that we can add to it. If we can just start to consolidate these positions, or this area that we’re racing in, then I’ll be happy.
“But it’s close. If we can race against Mercedes and Aston this weekend, I’ll still be happy.”
While McLaren took a noticeable step forward with its revised MCL60 package in Austria, Norris contends that the car remained challenging to drive.
The six-time F1 podium finisher asserts that the Woking side needs to work on making its current car more compliant for its drivers to ensure its improved form continues.
“The whole season we’ve been a little bit up-and-down,” he acknowledged. “Some tracks, the car works very well and some tracks not so much.
“We made the car quicker. We didn’t make it any easier to drive, and I think that’s our next target to try to achieve.
“But like I said, Austria’s our best race, so I don’t think it’s going to get much better – but you never know. This weekend we’ll try to do better, but just try to maintain that area that we’re racing in.
“If we can race against Astons, I think we’d still very happy; if we can race against Mercedes, I think we’ve still be very happy. But even doing that I think is quite a big ask still.”
Since making his F1 debut in 2019, the best result Norris has mustered in five visits to Silverstone was a fourth place in 2021.
Asked what it would mean to score a podium on home soil, Norris replied: “If there’s one place in the whole season that I’d love to do it more than anything, then it’s here.
“As much as I would love any podium, or any win, whatever it is, the one place I would love to do it – even over Monaco and all of those special places – the home race for me is the one place I’d love to do it.
“So, I guess I’ve grown up watching Lewis [Hamilton] do well here and it be one of his most competitive circuits, you see what it means to him and at the same time, what it means to the fans, and the supporters who are there, cheering the Brits on, so if I and we as a team can deliver a good result for the home fans, that would make it even more special.”
Norris wound up eighth in FP1 for the British GP, 0.2s clear of team-mate Oscar Piastri, who is trialling the Austria upgrades for the first time this weekend.