“[I was] feeling a little bit rusty, I will say – a few laps and you’re back in it. But a good day for us.
“We sacrificed quite a bit of FP1 to do a lot of aero running so we were a little bit behind on kind of learning and trying and testing some things, but valuable stuff for the future.
“I think to end up how we did today was encouraging and makes us look forward to tomorrow.”
The top 10 in FP2 were separated by only half a second at the end, with drivers from seven different teams occupying places inside the top half of the order.
Norris is therefore expecting an extremely tight qualifying session on Saturday, hinting that there could easily be a few surprise casualties from the pole position shootout.
When asked if he was optimistic McLaren could stay at the sharp end tomorrow, Norris said: “100%. It’s close. I think it’s going to be very close come tomorrow.
“It’s a short track, one minute 12, one minute 11, probably one minute 10s or something tomorrow. It’s going to be very tight, between many people… You have the Williams there, Alpine are there, AlphaTauris are there, so it’s just going to be a scrap, a lot of people fighting for the top spot.
“It’s going to make it easy to do both things, not easy to get to the top but easy to get knocked out early on, and reward you well.
“If you do a good job you can all the way to a good [spot] in Q3. It’s going to be tough. We can stay there, just no mistakes.”
While Norris rose to the top of the timesheets, team-mate Oscar Piastri classified 19th after a crash at the banked Turn 3 corner curtailed his day’s running early in the second session.
Questioned on whether he would be advising Piastri to forget about the incident, Norris responded: “He can do it himself. It’s not up to me, I’m not the one driving his car.
“He’ll be alright, he’s done a good job so far. It happens, that’s it, he’s cool.”