Lando Norris says McLaren F1 Team are being cautious heading into Saturday and Sunday after promising very strong pace in Free Practice 1 and 2 for the French Grand Prix.
The British rookie placed his MCL34 seventh and fifth fastest overall in Friday’s practice sessions, putting McLaren as the best of the rest with team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. producing similar pace with his practice runs. Norris in FP2 managed to beat both Red Bull Racing cars of Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly in the session and was less than a second to Valtteri Bottas‘ fastest time.
McLaren produced similar positions at the last round in Canada, however the team’s pace slipped in the race which saw Sainz finish outside of the points whilst Norris retired early on.
Despite the quick pace displayed by McLaren, and Norris in particular, the nineteen year old reflects on a good day of running but adds that the team are cautious with their pace going into Saturday.
“It’s been a good day, and to be honest a much better start to the weekend than in Canada for me,” said Norris.
“It’s a cool track, Turn 11 is the best where I hardly touch the brakes. Position-wise it looks quite promising, although in Canada the car was very quick on Friday, but even though we were still quick, the rest of the weekend we dropped back slightly, so we’re cautious.”
During both Friday sessions, McLaren experimented with several set-ups and changes to find pace and consistency with the car and the Pirelli tyres, which have been put to the test due to the heat around the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Norris added that the pace looks promising from McLaren and believes that if they can improve the car a bit, they should be in for a promising qualifying session.
“We tried a lot of stuff today and hopefully we can put all of that together on the car tomorrow and we can have a positive day.
“As a team, we’ve done a good job, the pace looks promising and if we can improve the car a little we should have a good qualifying. There’s a lot of improvements to be made and we just need to keep pushing.”