Lando Norris makes Ferrari Canadian GP pace admission as rain skews pecking order

Jamie Woodhouse
McLaren's Lando Norris kicking up spray at the 2024 Canadian Grand Prix.

McLaren's Lando Norris.

Rain showers made for quite a mixed up Friday at the Canadian Grand Prix, though Lando Norris fears Ferrari has the edge over McLaren.

It was a day of extremes when it came to the weather at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, a hailstorm descending on the circuit and causing a delay to the pit lane opening in FP1, yet the session finished with running on the dry tyres.

Lando Norris thinks Ferrari ‘little bit ahead’ of McLaren

The rain returned for FP2 with varying intensity, making for tricky transitions between the dry and intermediate tyres, with Norris going from the top of the timings in FP1 to the bottom after the second hour of practice.

Such a swing was testament to the lack of clarity over the true pecking order after Friday practice, but with both McLaren and Ferrari going into the race weekend regarded as contenders for the win, Norris suspects it is advantage Ferrari.

Asked if he was satisfied with McLaren’s haul of data from Friday practice in Canada, Norris replied: “Never enough, but we learned a good amount… Actually, not in the dry. We didn’t learn enough in the dry, to be honest.

“We did the [fewest] laps, I think, out of everyone [in the dry]… Not the best thing with that, but in the wet a good amount, [we’re] in a reasonable place.

“At the minute I think we seem a little bit off [the pace]. The Ferraris seem definitely a little bit ahead.

“I don’t know where we are the minute, because the conditions are changing, so whether you do the first lap when the track’s the best, or the last lap when the track’s the best, it changes everything, but I have no idea.”

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With the changeable weather conditions looking set in throughout the race weekend, McLaren team principal Andrea Stella admitted that they “may have learnt the most valuable information already” on Friday, despite their feeling of being in the dark over pace, tyre behaviour and setup.

“Today’s sessions were both affected by rain,” he said. “It means we haven’t learned very much about tyre behaviour, car setup or even our competitive position.

“That said, we may have learned the most valuable information already, because conditions may be the same as this for the rest of the weekend.

“So, the running was valuable, and at least we were able to offer something to all the fans that came out today to see us. We need to stay focused, use what we took from today and be ready for an eventful weekend.”

And with Norris’ McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri claiming that “our pace and times on the intermediates in [F]P2 looked solid”, the Woking-based outfit could be primed for a strong result in qualifying should the rain fall again as expected.

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