Lando Norris says that the McLaren F1 Team has improved the performance and its understanding of its new-for-2019 MCL34 after another promising day in Formula 1 winter testing.
Norris followed up his fastest time on Tuesday with the third best time on Thursday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and completed 84 laps.
The Brit’s time of a 1 minute 17.084 was set on the C5 tyres, like the rest of the top eight, and left him 0.853s shy of pacesetter Charles Leclerc.
F1 rookie Norris drew encouragement from McLaren’s progress across the second test, team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. set the fastest time on Wednesday.
He completed a number of runs on different tyre compounds and fuel loads in the morning, but had his afternoon running broken up by a minor exhaust issue.
“The morning went well, and we made some small improvements from the last two days,” said Norris.
“Many of the runs this morning were beneficial in helping us gain a better understanding of the car.
“I tried out various configurations during short runs, which gave us more information on how the car reacts to different tyres and fuel loads.
“We followed that with some longer runs on harder tyres that helped us to improve the balance of the car.”
Norris said on Tuesday that he was starting to feel “more prepared” for his F1 debut next month, and now believes that he is satisfied with McLaren’s base performance.
Team-mate Sainz Jr. will end the test for the Woking team on Friday, meaning that former driver and new McLaren ambassador Fernando Alonso will not have the chance to test the car until one of the in-season tests in either Barcelona or Hungary.
“I’m more prepared for Australia than I was at the start of testing, especially for the longer runs,” Norris added.
“There’s definitely still a lot of work to do, but overall I feel comfortable with the baseline we have and the direction we want to push in.
“I feel ready, and I’m going to spend the next two weeks working hard in the factory on everything I need to do to prepare our set-up for Melbourne.”