Lando Norris said McLaren will focus on the 2023 United States Grand Prix itself despite him qualifying fourth for the Sprint Race, just a tenth off first-placed Max Verstappen.
Oscar Piastri managed a memorable sprint victory in Qatar for McLaren, masterfully holding off Verstappen who failed to win a race event for just the fifth time in 2023, but Norris isn’t attempting to repeat that feat at the Circuit of the Americas.
It was an incredibly tight sprint shootout with just a tenth separating a top four from as many different teams, with Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton lining up second and third.
“I think that’s the most important thing,” Norris told Sky Sports F1. “We want to score more points tomorrow than we’re likely to today.
“So today is say the learning day, there’s some little things up for offer so we still want to get it and not waste away the race, but like you said, we’ve not done more than three laps in a row.
“So it’s going to be as soon as you get past lap three, pretty much we’re going to be learning and there’s gonna be good things for us and for the team for tomorrow, especially.”
McLaren hold advantage over rivals
However, Norris did seem confident of challenging in the grand prix itself, while adding anything is still possible in the sprint. Teams only had an hour of free practice before qualifying yesterday when they had to lock in their setups for the rest of the weekend.
So teams are desperately short of long-run data, and the sprint will be a step into the unknown especially on such a scorching weekend in Texas.
Temperatures are set to be around 34 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) when lights go out in the sprint, and that’s likely to repeat on Sunday.
“But we’re also in a good position,” Norris added. “I think we have two sets of hard tires, not many other teams do especially with the ones around us.
“So hopefully that will benefit us tomorrow if that time comes and the degradation is as high as it could be in the temperatures that we have here. But today is gonna be the day we learn a lot of things and answer questions.”