Lando Norris has said he believes McLaren are capable of catching Aston Martin in the Constructors’ Championship by the end of the season despite Fernando Alonso suggesting the British team are overconfident.
McLaren secured a double podium last time out at the Japanese GP and were comfortably the second fastest car on track behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen, and the Woking-based outfits resurgence in the second half of 2023 has seen them steadily climb back up the standings.
McLaren currently sit 49 points behind Aston Martin in fifth in the constructors table, but Norris hit back at Alonso saying that the team had gotten overconfident ahead of the Qatar GP.
“How many points did we catch last weekend? Quite a few, over 20 I think. So unless his his math is deteriorating, which it definitely isn’t, then that’s just Fernando, he’s always gonna say things,” Norris told media.
“He always makes himself look very good or other makes other people look bad. He’s very good at that.
“I don’t think we’re overconfident in any way. I think we’re the last people who have ever been overconfident in saying anything. Especially myself, but I thought we were a lot more points behind. So for us to be them within 49 or 47 whatever it is, with six races still to go.
“Like with two cars performing well. For them they struggled to have two cars up there in Q3, or up there at the end of the race.
“I would say it’s silly for him to think the opposite. But he’s a smart guy. He’s Australian anyways. I’m confident we can do it just because if we can have more P2 and P3s and things, of course it’s possible.”
Another strong weekend?
Norris was in contention throughout the weekend last time out at the Japanese GP, and despite a dominant from Verstappen, the British driver said he believed McLaren were capable of once again competing at the front in Qatar.
But he doesn’t think that anyone will be challenging Verstappen for the top step of the podium, barring any more surprise meltdowns like the team’s shock weakness at the Singapore GP.
“No, no unless they have a Singapore style thing, which I don’t believe they will. Yeah, unlikely. So do I feel confident we can have another strong weekend to the level of Japan? tough to say,” Norris said.
“I feel like Mercedes can be quick this weekend, maybe Ferrari not quite as strong. But I think our goal is to replicate what we did in Japan. And I think after Japan after looking at like the race pace, our pace was very strong, even compared to Max.
“I finished 19 seconds behind, I probably lost eight or eight, minimum find the VSC to Sergio. So like, would have finished, what 10, 11 12 seconds behind Max. I
“I think that was pretty incredible for us to achieve such a thing. So our goal is to do the same this weekend, whether we can close it, or the gaps going to be bigger, it’s too difficult to say.
“Would it be a win? I don’t think so.”