Rookie Lando Norris remains impressed with the McLaren F1 team after a strong and productive first pre-season test in Barcelona but says the team still has work to do before the season’s opening race in Melbourne.
Almost two years to the day since the 19-year-old was signed by McLaren as a junior driver, the British youngster racked up a valuable 132 laps on the final day of the first pre-season test.
Although a newcomer to the Formula One paddock, Norris looked comfortable in the MCL34, despite starting the day with a brief trip into the gravel.
However, he soon got into the swing of things, clocking up 382 miles and being seventh fastest with a lap time of 1:18:431 on the C4 second softest tyre.
Norris was pleased with his run-out and said: “I think today I did the most laps I’ve ever done on a test day.
“It was also the cleanest day we’ve had in terms of consistent running this week, so it was very productive.
“We did some more race simulation today and I’ve definitely learned a lot over my two days in the car. We’ve found some improvements over the week, but there’s still a lot to work on.”
With the season opener in Australia on the horizon, Norris said the team know what they need to do to match last year’s result at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, where Fernando Alonso finished fifth.
And, while the winter testing has been centered around Ferrari’s strong start, McLaren have been going about their business quietly.
After a dismal season last year, Norris is bringing some hope that 2019 might be better for McLaren.
Tuesday saw him notch up the second-fastest time and a final day of consistency rounded off McLaren’s strongest start in testing for four years.
He added: “Overall, it’s been a good week. The guys have done a solid job over the winter putting the car together and the test has gone pretty smoothly.
“We now have a better idea of the direction we want to work in with the car, and its strengths and weaknesses, and we’ll try to work on those weaknesses next week.”