Norris unable to drive McLaren F1 car the way he wants

Lando Norris has admitted that even he is unable to drive McLaren's new Formula 1 car exactly like he wants, despite his run of podiums.

In the wake of Daniel Ricciardo's struggles to adapt to the McLaren MCL35M, team principal Andreas Seidl conceded over the Monaco GP weekend that the current car needs a 'special' driving style.

And while Ricciardo's difficulty to deliver that has been obvious as he has been on the backfoot in the early 2021 races, teammate Norris' situation has not been so clear.

But despite taking podium finishes at Imola and Monaco, Norris says that it has been hard to get the most out of the current McLaren – and he is not able to push it in a way that he could in previous cars.

"This year the car is different, and there are different things on the car that you have to drive in a different way," he explained ahead of the Baku GP.

"I'm still learning a lot now, with every race that we do, about the car. I would say Monaco was my best qualifying that I've done, but I made mistakes in previous qualifying and races because of not knowing about the car enough.

"I'm still learning a lot of things and, especially in Bahrain, for example, and in the first couple of races of the season, I was driving it too much like last year's car and I had to adapt a lot to this year's car.

"So there are definitely a lot of differences and it's not been easy-going from last year, the last two years, to this year."

Read Also:

Norris said that a preference for car set-up that he learned in junior categories won't work with the current McLaren, which is why he is still finding his feet with it.

"I can't just drive it the same way and then just be a better driver," he said. "I've had to adapt to a lot of different things, and I still can't necessarily drive it the way that I want to, as a preference from how I drove in Formula 3 and Formula 4 and things like that.

"I can't drive it the way that I want. So a bit of it is just you have to adapt, and every car in F1 is different and you have to get used to it."

Ricciardo endured a difficult Monaco GP weekend and has spent time in the McLaren simulator since then to try to help make progress in getting more comfortable.

"I did spend a good few days on the sim last week, and it was really just trying to take a step back and understand what's going on, and let's say how the car works and what kind of needs to be done to get the car working well," said the Australian.

"In a way I kind of - I don't want to say started from zero because I've definitely learned a bit the first few races - but just had more of an open mind with my approach. We just tried lots of different things and even things that don't feel, let's say, correct. We'll try them and then understand why that doesn't work.

"So we just played around a lot. And certainly some things now do seem more clear to me, and I think it was really productive to do that. So I'm just looking forward to putting it in [action]."

shares
comments

Related video

2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix session timings and preview
Previous article

2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix session timings and preview

Next article

Bottas "surprised" by Mercedes suggestion over Monaco pitstop

Bottas "surprised" by Mercedes suggestion over Monaco pitstop
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022