Lando Norris: “It was cool to drive the new McLaren for the first time”

Lando Norris - McLaren F1 Team
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Lando Norris enjoyed his two days of testing with the McLaren F1 Team at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, his first chance to get a feel of the MCL33 since becoming the official reserve driver for the team in 2018.

Across the two days, Norris completed one hundred and fifty-six laps of the Spanish Grand Prix venue, with the reigning FIA European Formula 3 Champion happy to finally get the opportunity to test for McLaren.

“It’s been a good, enjoyable couple of days and was cool to drive the new McLaren for the first time,” said Norris.  “I drove yesterday morning, my first actual test in the McLaren MCL33 having done one lap in it at McLaren’s 2018 car launch.

“Also, it was my first test with Renault power and on a great track to test a F1 car – very high downforce, very fast.”

The opening day was dedicated to Pirelli tyre testing, and the current FIA Formula 2 Championship leader experiencing a number of different tyre compounds, completing seventy-six laps in the process.

“It was a Pirelli test and it all went smoothly,” said the Briton.  “We can’t touch the car in any way, we have to leave it exactly how we start the test.

“So there’s a lot of time for me to try different things for myself but at the same time trying to feel the differences in the different tyres Pirelli give us. I only got out of the car once and so to get 76 laps in was good.”

Day two on Wednesday saw him turn eighty more laps as he turned his attention to the development of the MCL33, and he felt, in comparison to last year’s MCL32, that the car is a definite step forward and it allowed him to push hard in the high-speed corners.

“Today was a McLaren test specifically in the MCL33 with the new ‘nose’,” said Norris.  “I found positive differences when compared to last year’s McLaren, it’s definitely a step forward.

“Jumping from an F2 car to drive an F1 McLaren is a big step which takes time to get used to but the new car was good to drive and gave me confidence to push in the high-speed corners here.

“I didn’t reach the limit myself, there’s still more I need to squeeze out of it but that will come with more miles.”