Lando Norris’ warning to Ferrari as McLaren told to be ‘more ambitious’

Michelle Foster
McLaren driver Lando Norris expressing an awkward look.

McLaren driver Lando Norris with an awkward look.

Urged to set their sights on Ferrari, Lando Norris says closing the 79-point gap is “doable” especially after a huge boost in McLaren’s confidence with their Qatar performance.

Last time out at the Lusail circuit, McLaren became the first team to beat Red Bull in a Sprint race this season as Oscar Piastri led home Max Verstappen.

24 hours later McLaren were two and three at the chequered flag as the Woking team recorded their second double podium result in as many Grands Prix.

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Their incredible form in the much-improved upgraded MCL60 has not only seen them slot in behind Max Verstappen as the second and third fastest on the track but it has put McLaren just 11 points behind Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship.

They, however, have been urged to be more ambitious and set their sights on Ferrari.

“I think they need to be even more ambitious than fourth,” F1 Nation podcast host Tom Clarkson said after Qatar. “I think they should be aiming at Ferrari in third.

“They’re 79 points behind Ferrari, five races to go, two of those [with] a Sprint, I think it’s achievable.”

So too does Norris, after all they’ve closed right up on Aston Martin already despite Fernando Alonso previously stating McLaren are “overconfident” in the fight.

“It’s doable. I think so,” said Norris in the post-Qatar GP press conference. “A couple of races ago it was 70 something to Aston. Fernando said we’re overconfident as well.

“I think so. I think we’re just doing a good job. Not just in terms of pace, but we had a 1.8-second pitstop, which is pretty impressive from the guys, they’ve been working extremely hard, so to reward the whole team consistently is only more motivating and a bigger boost every weekend.

“They like the taste of success. It’s the first time they’re getting it consistently and I think that only makes them want it more and more and more every weekend, that we’re doing, so the guys are doing a great job. I think we’re both doing a decent job too. So we’ll keep it up.”

McLaren went into the summer break 93 points behind Aston Martin, that gap now just 11, and 88 behind Ferrari with that gap at 79 points.

However, Ferrari’s advantage was up to 126 points after Carlos Sainz’s Singapore Grand Prix meaning McLaren have shaved 47 points off in the last two Grands Prix. recommends

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But while Norris reckons Ferrari’s third place could be up for grabs, he’s ruled out challenging Mercedes for second as he reckons the W14 is on a par with McLaren’s MCL60.

“We know that Mercedes are very quick, probably almost as quick as us, just they keep making mistakes, so I’m sure if they have a clean weekend they’ll maybe make life a bit more tricky and therefore I’m not as confident saying it,” he said.

“But like us comparing to Ferrari, it was only three weekends ago that Ferrari were close to on pole and almost winning races.

“And nothing has really changed. It’s just a different track. We’re looking better, they’re looking a bit worse. So I think we’re definitely not overconfident. We’re confident, I think we need to be, but we know there’s still going to be some races where we’re not going to be quite as strong.”

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