Despite the recent performance surge from McLaren, Lando Norris believes another step is needed before they are truly challenging Mercedes.
McLaren leapt to the front of the ‘best of the rest’ queue behind Red Bull as of the British GP thanks to an upgrade package, one first introduced in Austria and further refined for the British GP round.
There Norris would score a P2 finish, repeating that achievement at the following outing in Hungary, marking the first time he had scored back-to-back podium finishes in his career.
Mercedes the next step for McLaren to tackle
Norris finished ahead of Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and George Russell in those P2 results, but believes that the overall picture has Mercedes still faster than McLaren.
The next part of McLaren’s journey back to the top of F1 then is to change that situation.
“I’m happy that we’ve had some good weekends, but we’re not where we need to be,” Norris claimed, as per RacingNews365.com.
“We’re not racing with Mercedes – they’re clearly another step ahead of us still.”
Lando Norris explains Spa setback
Indeed, the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps was not such a positive experience for the team, as while Oscar Piastri excelled in the wet on sprint day, qualifying and finishing P2, the team struggled when the conditions became drier for Grand Prix Sunday.
Norris believes such inconsistencies stem from the all-encomppasing focus on delivering this far-improved McLaren, though he is not about to complain considering the rewards reapt at the British and Hungarian GPs.
“I don’t think we had optimal wing settings,” he suggested.
“We just haven’t been able to focus on what we wanted to because we brought a whole new car, and all of the focus was on doing that, which is the correct thing to do, because there’s only three or four races which are probably as low downforce as this.
“All of our focus was on just trying to deliver the new car that we’ve had a few weeks ago, and that’s clearly delivered us two podiums.
“I’d much rather take that and have a couple of bad weekends than just be below par the whole time.”
McLaren sit P5 in the F1 2023 Constructors’ standings, with the gap to Mercedes in P2 standing at 144 points.