The Woking team have introduced a low-downforce package at Monza in order to help the MCL60 combat the straight-line issues it encountered at the Belgian GP.
While the updates look to have done the trick on paper, as Norris finished just 0.019s behind Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, the 23-year-old doesn’t think the car is as quick as the time would have people believe.
“To begin the day, not so good,” Norris told reporters when asked how the MCL60 felt on Friday.
“Really the only run we looked competitive was the final run, which makes us look very good, but I would say we’re not as good as what it looks.
“I think with the other tyres, with the medium and the hard, we struggle quite a bit more… and also on the race runs we struggle quite a bit more than we do on the one-lap Soft, it’s a C5 so it’s obviously a Soft tyre, provides a lot of grip for one lap, which is always a good thing for us.
“We always need that little extra thing that brings the balance closer towards us, it gives us what we almost wish we have from the car itself. But as soon as we lose that extra grip we go to high fuel, different tyres, our performance relative to others decreases quite a bit.
“I’m happy, we took some good steps forward; we made some improvements today, but definitely still not in a competitive enough place.”
Norris knows where McLaren can improve
With Ferrari living up to expectations as a possible threat this weekend at its home race, Norris noted that McLaren can’t match the Scuderia’s pace on the straights.
Nevertheless, he has an idea of where McLaren can make some changes overnight.
“I think so, it’s clear where we’re still losing,” said Norris. “The majority of it is still in the straights, comparing to some of the other cars, like the Ferrari is unbelievably quick in the straight.
“But I think we always expected them to be quick here, they have a good balance in the very slow speed corners they’re always very competitive, and they’re always slippery in the straights.
“I think we have a few ideas and things to work on, we took a good step forward from P1 to P2 so maybe a bit more of that. A bit more in that direction would be helpful.”