Norris ‘a sponge’ with an ‘enormous talent for learning’

Mark Scott
Lando Norris races in Canada. Montreal June 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris races in Canada. Montreal June 2022

Lando Norris has been praised by his performance engineer Jose Manuel Lopez for the way he soaks up information over the course of a race weekend.

The British driver may be struggling to reach the same heights of the 2021 campaign, but that’s through no fault of his own with the MCL35M proving to be a difficult car to predict so far this season.

Norris, though, has still managed to climb onto the podium steps again following a second consecutive P3 finish at Imola and continues to have the beating of team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, setting the benchmark at McLaren.

And Norris isn’t just impressing on the track, but away from it, too.

“Lando in qualifying extracts the best from the car and is a sponge,” Lopez said in an interview with AS.

“He has an enormous talent for learning new techniques, altering the reactions of the car or adapting to the limitations. I think that’s exceptional, apart from his pure speed.”

Lopez has also worked with a number of other stand-out names on the Formula 1 grid over the years, including Carlos Sainz, Kevin Magnussen, Daniil Kvyat, Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell.

And the former two on this list have also been singled out for praise.

“Magnussen is very good at adapting to any circumstances, he always performed, others need the fastest car and if not they get lost,” he added. ”

“With Carlos [Sainz] I was in F3 with him and he is one of those who always digs and wants to know more in search of that extra tenth.”

Lopez’s preparation for the next race begins the week prior to lights out, before flying out on the Tuesday or Wednesday before the Grand Prix weekend.

A track walk follows on Thursday, before getting down into the nitty gritty on Friday and beyond.

He said: “From Friday onwards everything gets tighter, the training sessions are very important to test and gather the information with which we will prepare the ‘set-up’.

“I talk to Lando when the car comes back to the garage, we see the data and what we want to do in the next run, or what can be improved. I also pass information to him when he is on track, but in this case through the track engineer, Will [Joseph].”

Norris currently sits P7 in the Drivers’ Championship with 50 points to his name, 35 clear of Ricciardo who is down in P13.

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