Norris concedes that he didn’t string together the ideal lap in the final segment, adding that he encountered difficulty in maximising the potential of the car.
When asked if his position was an accurate reflection of McLaren’s one-lap pace, Norris responded: “Yeah, I think so. I mean, Oscar did a good lap for P7, so yeah. There’s always that little bit more in it.
“Tricky car today to extract everything out of it, especially, I don’t know why, but when it comes to Q3 I struggle a little bit to understand where to get the lap time from. Not that I don’t know where it is, it’s just very difficult to actually do it and apply it on the one lap you have to do it.
“It’s tough, just very easy to over-push and under-push, and my final lap was just a mixture of that,” he continued. “So, not one of my best ever Q3’s, nevertheless I think as good as we were going to do today.”
Despite introducing upgrades to its low-downforce package for this weekend, Norris asserts McLaren remains the slowest team down the straights “by quite a long way”.
The McLaren driver is not expecting to make easy progress up the order tomorrow, instead hoping the team can avoid a repeat of the struggles it encountered at Spa.
Questioned on what’s possible on race day, the 23-year-old said: “Tough. We are still the slowest on the straight by quite a long way so, hoping it’s not going to be quite as bad as Spa was.
“It’s probably a harder track to overtake on anyway than Spa so I’m not sure. We will do our homework, prepare as much as we can and give it our best shot but it’s definitely not going to be a straightforward race.”
Meanwhile, Piastri enjoyed a strong Saturday, out-qualifying Norris for only the third time in 2023, leaving him satisfied with his effort.
“Yeah, pretty happy with that, the Australian reflected. “I think not too much more I could’ve gotten out of it. Maybe a little bit here and there, but I’m sure everybody could say the same.
“Not too bad, clearly we are missing a bit to really challenge at the front, but I think we were quite aware of that before we came [to Monza]. Not too bad, we will see what we can do tomorrow.”
However, Piastri echoed Norris’ concerns about McLaren’s top-speed deficiency against the rest of the grid, with the rookie expecting a tough fight to score points.
Pressed on whether McLaren can hold onto a position in the top 10, Piastri said: “We’ll find out tomorrow I guess.
“I think there’s a lot of cars around us that seemed quite quick on Friday. We seemed okay, but clearly we know we’re not very quick on the straights which makes life quite difficult around Monza. We’ll try our best and see if we can score some points.”