Norris: P3 ‘not anything to be happy about’

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris PA

Lando Norris

Lando Norris finished third-fastest in FP2 ahead of the Italian GP, but said it was actually his “worst Friday” in a long time.

Norris was the fastest non-Mercedes driver in the afternoon session, finishing P3, nine tenths slower than Lewis Hamilton who topped FP2.

But Norris is taking little encouragement from that, and instead feels he is on the “back foot” now heading into qualifying because of the time he missed in FP2 due to a problem with the Energy Recovery System on his MCL35.

“It was probably my worst Friday for a long time,” Norris told reporters at Monza.

“Too much time in the garage today really.

“I only did really five or six laps at the end of the session because we had some engine problems and only just about got it fixed for the end of the session.

“So not perfect because it puts me quite a bit on the back foot, mainly for Sunday because I didn’t do any high fuel running – so it’s not ideal.

“I need to do a bit of catch up tomorrow in FP3, maybe try and do some high fuel and low fuel [runs], which I think will compromise my feeling a little bit going into the quali, so we’ll have to see. Not the perfect day.”

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Norris is positive for the weekend ahead, but P3 didn’t mean much to him because he expects the likes of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, who finished FP2 in P5 and P15 respectively, to raise their game.

“It should be positive. I don’t think P3 today is anything to be happy about,” he said when asked about his prospects for the rest of the race weekend.

“It’s not bad at the end of the day, but [Daniel] Ricciardo was quick, [Max] Verstappen was quick… so I expect them to be ahead tomorrow, but we have a chance.

“It’s a track where you can overtake reasonably well – still not easy, but reasonably well – and also that comes a lot down to race pace, so we’ll see.

“I don’t think our race pace is terrible, I think it’s one of our better weekends, and we just need to make sure we make the most of qualifying to be in a good position come the race.

“But it’s going to be close. Everyone looks really quick. We still don’t know what engine modes everyone’s running from tomorrow in qualifying and how much more everyone’s got in the bag from today so still a little bit unknown compared to other teams, but we’ll find out tomorrow.”

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