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Lando Norris

Norris hints at McLaren title surge

Talk of a title challenge from the McLaren team has heightened after Lando Norris captured a seismic race victory last time out from Miami.

Norris Imola
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris has asserted McLaren is “close” to competing for a world championship after its win in Miami two weeks ago.

Norris secured his maiden Formula 1 victory around the Miami International Autodrome, coming out on top ahead of reigning champion Max Verstappen.

Red Bull has held a commanding lead over the rest of the field since the introduction of new technical regulations in 2022.

However, McLaren's win in Miami has boosted Norris' hope of offering a more consistent challenge to the Milton Keynes-based squad.

“Does it give me more hope in challenging them? 100 per cent. I mean, we had an upgrade there,” Norris told media including RacingNews365

“It definitely helped us. I think anyway, we seemed good there, even if we had no upgrade. I think we still would have been decent, but maybe not quite as quick. 

“I know Max had damage and all of this, and people like to use that, but even before he had damage, we were still quicker than him by a fairly big chunk.”

'Getting closer'

McLaren has been unable to challenge for the title in the current turbo hybrid era, with its last real chance coming in 2010.

However, Norris senses that the Woking-based outfit is close to putting itself in a position to compete across an entire season.

“Can we challenge for the title next year and that kind of thing? You can never please everyone,” he said. 

“If I'm not confident, people say I'm not confident enough. Now I have a bit of confidence, people say I'm overconfident, but we're getting closer and closer.

“We were there because we had good pace. I feel like we should have been on pole at least on Friday afternoon [for the sprint race in Miami], maybe not Saturday. 

“I think that's where we deserve to be. But we're getting closer. And I know as soon as we can attack some of these issues that we have,  I know we can. 

“It's as simple as that. We're close.”

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Development schedule

McLaren began the 2023 campaign towards the back of the field but has successfully developed its car to rapidly climb the pecking order.

With its strong upgrade schedule in mind, Norris has stated the next natural step to make following his win is to challenge for the title.

“As much as some people might doubt it, we're close, but we know that other people are improving and that kind of thing,” he said. “It's not an easy task to keep going at it.

“With the progress we're making, with the developments that we've had, there's no reason to say no. But I do know it's a whole other task to do it consistently, to do it every weekend. 

“And when you are there, to deliver under pressure every time and qualifying in races, to battle for these positions more than what I have done, that's still something I look forward to - racing against Max a bit more and racing against the Ferraris a bit more and that kind of thing, which is something we've not done.

“I'm confident with how the team are doing with our rate of development, which is better than any other team on the grid, that by next year we can challenge a lot more often for wins. 

“In the big picture, hopefully, a challenge for a title.”

Also interesting:

In the latest episode of the RacingNews365.com podcast, Ian Parkes, Samuel Coop and Nick Golding look ahead at this weekend's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. The trio discuss last season's cancelled race at Imola, whether McLaren's Miami pace is genuine and if Mercedes teenage sensation Andrea Kimi Antonelli will make his debut before he turns 18.

Want to watch the podcast instead of just listening? Check it out here.

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