Lando Norris has said that the race pace of the McLaren was not great, but admitted that it was better than he expected it to be, as he finished fifth in the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix.
McLaren introduced upgrades to the MCL60 for the 10th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season, but Oscar Piastri did not receive the updates as McLaren managed to introduce them one race earlier than anticipated for one car, which was Norris.
The updates appear to be successful as Norris demonstrated a far greater pace in all of the sessions than his teammate, who could not get close to the Briton at all.
Despite the strong performance in comparison, Norris is not happy with the race pace of the car.
“It was better than I was expecting, which is a good surprise,” Norris said to the media.
“Still, I say not great. Fernando [Alonso] was clearly quicker at the end by quite a chunk every lap, and I’m almost crashing in every corner.
“But yeah, to be P5 shows that we’ve taken a good step forwards so I’m very happy with that.”
Norris’ strong weekend
Norris enjoyed a strong weekend at the upper end of the field at the Austrian GP as he qualified third then fourth for the Sprint and Grand Prix, respectively, and went on to finish fifth in Sunday’s race.
He came under pressure at various stages from a range of different drivers such as Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Perez and Fernando Alonso – and with the exception of Perez’s Red Bull, he held his own against all of them.
Sainz eventually got past his ex-teammate, but Norris repelled Hamilton and Alonso, with the latter being on faster tyres in the final stint of the race.
For his efforts, Norris collected 11 points over the Austrian GP weekend and was also voted Driver of the Day at the 2023 Austrian GP.
The Woking team had only collected 17 points in the prior eight races, to put the points haul into perspective.
Where is the next F1 2023 race?
With the F1 circuit finished in Austria, we move on to the 2023 British Grand Prix which will be held at Silverstone in Northamptonshire, England over the weekend of July 7-9.