Lando Norris enjoyed his latest experience of Formula 1 machinery after replacing Fernando Alonso for the opening practice session at the Sochi Autodrom on Friday, with the Briton ending thirteenth fastest overall.
The McLaren F1 Team junior has combined his practice drive with his FIA Formula 2 duties for a third time in 2018 ahead of his promotion to the race seat in 2019, with Norris ending 2.534 seconds off the pace of Sebastian Vettel but 0.165 seconds and three places ahead of the driver he will replace in the team next year, Stoffel Vandoorne.
“Overall, today was a good, fun day,” said Norris. “Driving both the Formula 1 and Formula 2 cars on the same day really gives you a good opportunity to compare the two.
“The F2 car is fun to drive, but the F1 car is a lot nicer. The F2 car moves around a lot more, and switches from understeer to oversteer, whereas the F1 car is generally nicer to drive. The biggest difference is under braking: you enter the corner very differently.
“In Formula 2, you brake earlier, it feels like you can’t slow the car down, and the transition between releasing the brake and turning the car in is different. Braking affects the whole corner, so if you get that wrong everything goes wrong, so that’s a big difference.”
Norris admits it is difficult to avoid mistakes when he jumps straight from Formula 1 into Formula 2 machinery, but he knows getting the experience in the bigger cars is good experience as he prepares for his promotion in 2019.
“It’s difficult to jump from one formula to another – mistakes do creep in, which I want to avoid,” said the Briton. “It’s not ideal doing both, but F1 is bigger than F2. As much as I’d like to win the Formula 2 title, F1 is where I want to make my career next year.
“Doing both just makes me a bit busier, that’s all!”