Lando Norris has predicted that the tight and twisting nature of the Circuit of the Americas will not suit the McLaren car during the US GP.
Norris comes into the weekend off the back of a hat-trick of podiums, putting McLaren within 11 points of Aston Martin, who currently lie fourth in the Constructors’ Championship.
A host of upgrades introduced ahead of the British GP in the summer rejuvenated the team’s performances, and since then they have significantly closed the gap to the top four after struggling at the back of the grid at the start of the season.
But heading into this weekend’s race in Austin, Norris said he wasn’t expecting to challenge the likes of Mercedes again given the specific characteristics of the circuit.
“Not so confident,” Norris admitted. “Just a lot more slow-speed corners, which is not our strength.
“But we know on these types of circuits Mercedes is going to be very strong, Ferrari is going to be very strong, Aston here in the past have been very strong.
“So it’s just not a track like Qatar, which [has] a lot of medium-high speed, where we’re very strong and almost on par with Red Bull. I think we can still fight it’s just going to be much bigger.”
Despite picking up third in the Qatar GP, Norris had to charge from 10th to join teammate Oscar Piastri on the podium after losing his fastest time in Qualifying due to track limits infringements.
Saturday’s Sprint day saw a chance of a maiden win slip through Norris’ fingers after going wide at Turn 16 on his final run in the shootout, costing him pole to Piastri, who would go on to win the Sprint.
“I’m not going to change that much,” Norris said. “The margins are so small, and the thing which made it worse is I should have been on pole [for] both occasions.
“Definitely for Saturday, maybe not so much for Sunday, but at worst, I should have been first and second. I feel like there was a lot of missed opportunities on my side.
“But at the same time, there have been plenty of other races this weekend where I’ve not made mistakes, and I feel I’ve performed very well.
“But obviously, the ones which are always picked up on [are] the bad cases. I made the mistake, I was frustrated [at] that time I’ve moved on. I’ll try and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”