Lando Norris makes ‘two big steps’ prediction for McLaren to catch F1 big guns

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris addresses media in Bahrain.

Lando Norris split the Mercedes drivers in Bahrain, but acknowledged there's work to be done.

Lando Norris believes McLaren have “two big steps” to make to catch Ferrari and Red Bull respectively this season, after a solid start in Bahrain.

A P6 finish was a marked improvement on where McLaren began 2023 as Norris and Oscar Piastri earned a decent haul of points on a circuit where McLaren have traditionally not performed well, but they know there is a big task in front of them to catch Ferrari and Red Bull.

Lando Norris: McLaren require ‘two big steps’ to catch frontrunners

Additional reporting by Thomas Maher

McLaren sit among the congested chasing pack behind Red Bull, with Max Verstappen having sailed to a first win of the season by more than 20 seconds in Bahrain.

But with the Woking-based team having been the constructor to have improved the most by quite some distance as 2023 went on, hopes were high about their prospects heading into this season.

As the pack closes up, Norris is looking to other circuits and McLaren’s upgrades to make the steps required to catch the cars in front.

When it was put to him that Red Bull were ‘on another planet’ in Bahrain through Max Verstappen’s victory on Saturday, Norris was not so sure, replying to media including PlanetF1.com: “I mean, they weren’t.

“Carlos [Sainz] was not far behind and they’re always very good on race pace the Red Bulls and this track, you need to be good on tyres because it’s so abrasive.

“So I’m thinking that Ferrari did a good job, Ferrari are also very strong here just as a characteristic. They’re clearly still ahead, that’s for sure.

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“I think when you look at yesterday, they weren’t obviously ahead, I think Charles [Leclerc] had the quickest lap, so maybe between them they can battle a little bit and I think that’ll be good for everyone.

“Still, the race pace is where Red Bull are so strong and so dominant, and Max is so dominant.

“But there’s a big step between us and Ferrari on a circuit like this, and then another step from Ferrari to Red Bull, so we’ve got two big steps to make up, but starting with one will be good.”

When asked if those ‘big steps’ he mentioned were achievable, Norris responded: “To Ferrari, yes, and again, there’s certain tracks we’re going to do it, certain tracks we’re not as we change more things.”

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