Lando Norris left Silverstone on Friday feeling unclear about what McLaren’s genuine one-lap pace will look like following practice for Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
Despite an upturn in fortunes courtesy of upgrades arriving before the Austrian GP, Norris had a quiet Friday setting the 8th fastest time in FP1 before finishing FP2 14th quickest.
“It’s never an easy day here [with] the wind and the bumpy circuit,” said Norris after FP2. “So not the most straightforward [Friday].
“We’ve made some small steps, but not the most confident [with] the car today.
“If it does rain, I look forward to the challenge, and maybe that can buy us a bit of performance because I would say we’re a little bit off the pace today.”
More confident with harder compound
With Friday’s practice sessions taking place in clear sunny conditions, wind coming in from the south would cause the drivers’ headaches, as wind gusts during FP2 hit 18mph.
Norris had started FP2 on hards before switching to softs during the session but couldn’t break into the top 10, while teammate Oscar Piastri, who began his medium programme, finished ninth fastest.
“Actually, on the hard tyre at the beginning of FP2, I was way more confident [than] I was on the soft,” admitted Norris. “We put the softs on and didn’t go much quicker.
“So a bit confusing, I just didn’t manage to transfer much of the lap time onto the softer tyre.
“I’m just trying to understand that, but we seemed better in FP1 and not so good in FP2. It did get a bit more windy, so maybe that plays a little bit of a part at the same time.”
McLaren’s new upgrades look to unlock pace
McLaren’s genuine one-lap pace has remained a mystery for much of their season, and it is unlikely to be solved anytime soon.
With Alpine and Williams looking strong, McLaren will have their work cut out to get both cars into Q3, although the rain forecast for Saturday may help Piastri and Norris secure Q3 births.
The lone positive is McLaren showed some decent speed on Friday, with both drivers now in an upgraded car on a day when Aston Martin and Mercedes struggled for pace.