McLaren driver Lando Norris has concerns that the Miami surface could prove as bad as it was last year after the first day of running.
In its inaugural year, the Miami International Autodrome, which serves as a car park once F1 packs up and leaves, was criticised for its poor quality with drivers complaining of the surface breaking up as they put the laps in.
In an effort to fix the problem, the Miami promoters resurfaced the road ahead of this year’s race but it appears it has not entirely fixed the problem.
Speaking after the second practice session of the day, Norris said the first few laps on the “sketchy” surface made him think not much had changed since last year.
“I mean, it’s better because it’s not coming up and breaking up,” he told Sky Sports F1. “But in terms of grip, it was still pretty low.
“It’s getting better, I think it’s probably just never been used before. It’s been a lot better since this morning, probably a good few seconds.
“This morning was pretty sketchy though. On the first few laps, it was like: ‘Oh no, [this] seems a bit like last year’.
“But I think it’s just a much more usable surface. It just needs some running. I think the only tough thing is if you go a little bit off line, you’re probably in a wall somewhere so it’ll make racing quite tough on Sunday.”
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who set the fastest time in FP2, was of the same opinion and said that while it was fine on the racing line, it was “slippery” everywhere else.
“It is still slippery offline,” the Championship leader told F1.com. “I think on the driving line, it’s quite okay but as soon as you got a little bit off line, it’s a lot less grip.”
Lando Norris happy to be “P1 for a long time” and hails good first day
McLaren’s upturn in performance since Baku seems to be continuing unto Miami as Norris and team-mate Oscar Piastri both put in quick times on a mix of all three tyre compounds.
With Piastri testing out the hard, Norris was given the opportunity to put some laps in with the quicker softs and mediums and it paid off with Norris top of the timesheet for a significant portion of the session if ultimately beaten by Verstappen in the end.
Tongue in cheek, Norris said his P1 position gave him high hopes for the weekend but that he was also happy with what they learned about the car.
“I mean, I was P1 for a long time so my hopes were high for a little bit,” he said with a smile. “I think it was a good day, a positive day. A clean amount of running.
“I think we had a good plan from the beginning and we stuck to it so I’m happy with that.
“I think today we’re definitely a little bit better than we were maybe expecting.
“I think the upgrades that we had in Baku have provided a little bit more help for us here, which is also a good thing. But it’s just a Friday, so we’ll take it one step at a time and not get ahead of ourselves.”