Lando Norris was delighted to stand on the podium in the Monaco Grand Prix two weeks ago, and he is hoping for another strong weekend for the McLaren F1 Team in Azerbaijan.
Norris had a strong weekend at the Circuit de Monaco and was able to keep Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez behind him in the closing stages despite the Mexican having an obviously quicker car than him.
The Baku City Circuit in Azerbaijan is another street circuit, and the Briton is looking to execute another clean weekend so he can be a factor for the major points and perhaps fight for his third podium finish of 2021.
“It was a great feeling to be on the podium in Monaco after a well-executed weekend from the team,” said Norris. “We’re looking to keep this positive momentum going as we head to Baku.
“I’m looking forward to jumping in the car and racing on another street circuit for a second race in a row. Baku is a unique race with a mix of long straights and slow corners that make it an exciting challenge to master.
“It’s also unpredictable as you always get the sense that there will be opportunities, so we’ll need to be ready to make the most of them if they come our way.”
Norris says the competition in 2021 has provided him with some great on-track battles, and he knows McLaren will need to keep their feet on the gas if they want to stay ahead of the chasing pack in the championship.
“The competition around us is providing some great battles on track,” said the Briton. “We need to keep pushing to get everything we can out of the car and stay out of trouble, as there’s little room for error when it comes to street circuits.
“The key for us is to find consistency throughout the weekend to be able to walk away with a good amount of points on Sunday.”
“It’s been important to take time to reset and refocus before heading to Baku” – Daniel Ricciardo
Whereas Norris excelled in Monaco, team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was far less impressive in the principality, failing to make it into the top ten in Qualifying and then being lapped by Norris as he missed out on the points.
However, the Australian has taken time out since the race in Monaco to relax and reset his focus, and he comes to Azerbaijan aiming to return to form and to the points.
“Monaco wasn’t my weekend but I’m looking to bounce back,” said Ricciardo. “It’s been important to take time to reset and refocus before heading to Baku.
“The team and I have been working hard in the sim to understand, analyse and pinpoint the key areas we need to improve. We know the car has good potential, we just need to put all pieces together to unlock it.
“There’s still that element of adapting to a new car which I’m sure will come with the more time and mileage behind the wheel. I’m going to keep working at it, build on the progress we made in Portugal and Spain and try to feel as one with the car.”
Like Monaco, Baku is a circuit where Ricciardo has previously tasted victory, and he hopes he can find the set-up on the MCL35M that will allow him to have a solid weekend and score good points.
“Baku is a really cool street circuit and one of those races where potentially anything could happen,” said the Australian. “The track is known for having one of the longest straights on the calendar with three cars being able to run side-by-side as you head into Turn One.
“Hopefully, we can get the car into the right window from the off on Friday and have a solid weekend.”