Lando Norris believes he is “making too many mistakes” at the moment, in part because of how he feels he has to drive his McLaren in order to get the most out of it.
McLaren have endured a difficult start to the season by their standards, with a double points finish in Monaco being a marked improvement on their showing in Miami, where they could lay claim to arguably being the second-slowest team on outright pace.
Arriving in Barcelona, the team are looking to build on a positive result last time out, but with Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri both sandwiched in the midfield after FP2 – where qualifying simulations often take place – the Briton said he has to drive the MCL60 in a certain way to get the most from it, but it is also forcing him into mistakes at the same time.
“This has been quite a tough day, probably one of our trickier Fridays, I would say in terms of pace and setup,” Norris told reporters after FP2 in Spain.
“And I think we struggled with a few different things this morning in FP1, some of which we improved a little bit and some which I would say I’m struggling a bit with, just in terms of the handling just putting it up together.
“I’m making too many mistakes because of how I feel like I have to drive the car at the minute.
“So, I think the pace can be there-ish, probably towards the back end of it. But yeah, tomorrow’s a new day.”
The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has seen its layout revert to the final two right-handers not seen in Formula 1 since 2006, ending the lap with two high-speed corners instead of the chicane which proved largely unpopular among the drivers.
Norris said ahead of the weekend that he was not looking forward to racing in the high-speed section, acknowledging the drivers’ necks will come under significant strain over the course of the weekend, but he added he will try to work out a way through the change – even though he feels it’s now easier to make a mistake through that part of the track.
“Find out on the race on Sunday,” he responded when asked how the changes to the final two turns may affect the racing.
“I’ve not done any racing necessarily just yet, I did some following and I think sometimes it feels a bit better, I think it’s easier to make a mistake in the final corner.
“Other times it felt a bit worse, so I don’t have an answer just yet. It’s something I’ll try and figure out tomorrow.”