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Lando Norris on McLaren’s chances of winning at 2023 Las Vegas GP

The long straights hurt McLaren, whose car carries more drag compared to Ferrari and Red Bull

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Lando Norris doesn’t expect to run Max Verstappen close to victory at the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix due to the long straights exposing the weaknesses of McLaren.

The team possesses excellent pace in the high-speed corners with only Red Bull being regarded as better than the Woking outfit in that area, but they still pay a heavy drag toll on straights compared to rivals like Ferrari.

“This will remind you a little bit more of Baku and Monza type races, which weren’t our best,” Norris said to media. “It’s definitely towards the weaker side.

“There’s the long straights and low-downforce is not where our priority has been this season with developments and all of those things because it’s there’s so few races like it.

“Maybe not as confident as we have been the last few weekends, but we’ve got no idea at the same time.”

The Las Vegas Strip Circuit isn’t filled with high-downforce turns which will affect the tyres, which have been the main concern across the grid, but for McLaren it means they lose their advantages and when it has happened earlier in the season they barely scored points.

In Azerbaijan, they finished ninth and 11th whilst at the Italian GP at Monza they finished eight and 12th as both of those circuits relied primarily on straight-line speed and mechanical grip, despite finishing in the podiums at other circuits with long straights such as Silverstone and Interlagos.

Norris “extremely pleased” with McLaren form

Following the 2023 Canadian GP in June, Norris had just 12 points to his name and was a distant 105 points behind Fernando Alonso after eight rounds of the season and McLaren trailed Mercedes by 150 points.

But fast forward 12 rounds of the 2023 Formula 1 season and Norris is now just three points behind Alonso whilst McLaren have outscored Mercedes by 50 points in the same period despite Oscar Piastri being a rookie driver.

It shows a remarkable turnaround for a group that began the season by qualifying 18th and finishing 17th to, at the Brazilian GP, lapping just 0.116s slower on average than Verstappen‘s Red Bull.

“I think I’m very pleased,” Norris said. “Extremely pleased with how we’ve done the last few weeks especially Mexico and Brazil.

“We were a big a big chunk better than we were expecting to be. Especially Brazil, to be so far ahead of the majority and close to the Red Bull through a lot of the race was definitely not something we were expecting.”

Brandon Sutton
Brandon Sutton
Brandon is an alumni of an NCTJ and BJTC Liverpool John Moores University course, and has been with Total-Motorsport.com for over a year now. He enjoys covering all forms of motorsport but particularly focuses on Formula 1, and Brandon loves to debate various topics of the sport and other interests, especially if that topic doesn't have an open/shut answer such as the GOAT debate.
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