Lando Norris not enjoying updated McLaren despite P6 Singapore start

Henry Valantine
The McLaren driven by Lando Norris sporting flow-vis paint. Singapore, September 2022.

The McLaren MCL36 driven by Lando Norris sporting flow-vis paint. Singapore, September 2022.

Lando Norris qualified sixth for the Singapore Grand Prix, but is unsure about how much of a fan he is of how his updated McLaren handles.

Norris was given a new-spec MCL36 ahead of the weekend, but warned he was not expecting a “big step” to be taken in terms of the team’s performance in Singapore.

But while his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was disappointing in qualifying, being eliminated in mixed conditions in Q1, Norris made it through to Q3 and performed strongly enough to put his car on the third row for the race – which exceeded the Briton’s expectations.

“Yes, it is a great day for us,” Norris told Sky F1 after the session.

“Tough…it’s not an easy session, especially on the slicks. Slicks in the wet patches here is not a nice feeling you have inside the car, but it was rewarding.

“P6, we would never have been P6 after yesterday. If it was completely dry or completely wet, we would have been a lot further back.

“So a good day for us and especially on a track which is hard to overtake on. It’s given us a good chance tomorrow.”

Norris had warned against getting too carried away regarding how much performance he could gain from the updates on his car, but having had the chance to use them he believes the handling has actually worsened compared to how he likes his car.

“It’s a very difficult question to answer, it’s so difficult to know,” Norris responded when asked how much influence the upgrades had on his performance.

“Like I said before, it’s not like it’s a big step forward. This car is a different-handling car in a way I kind of don’t like, but it’s more of a forward-looking car rather than a car just for this weekend.

“So things are doing well, I’m still happy the team managed to get a car here for this weekend and it still sets us up well – more for the future rather than just this weekend.

“So I’ll just take this weekend for what it is and I’d say everyone’s done a good job.”

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc took pole position in Singapore in a tight fight at the top, edging out Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton to top spot, while a furious Max Verstappen had to abandon his last lap and will line up P8.

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