Lando Norris believes that McLaren's running in Friday practice at the Australian Grand Prix was their best of the season so far, offering a glimmer of hope after the team faced difficult races in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Despite impressing during pre-season testing, the Woking-based squad have started the year on the back foot, having taken only six points from 2022's opening two Grands Prix.
But, after a promising showing during Free Practices 1 and 2 in Melbourne, Norris has been left feeling far more optimistic about McLaren's chances of scoring points.
Norris was the best of the rest during FP1 - behind only the Ferrari and Red Bull cars in fifth - before placing eighth during FP2's qualifying simulation runs.
Norris praises McLaren's "step forward"
Norris' newfound positivity comes after two races with very little to celebrate for the young Briton, who at one stage warned his team that they may be forced to "get used" to fighting at the back.
"That was probably our best Friday so far, so I'm hoping it will continue into tomorrow because we have a good feeling," Norris told F1 TV.
"I think we made a few changes and we've learned a bit this weekend already, or from the previous few weekends, that we've implemented.
"I think it is working reasonably well, so we've taken a small step forward, so it's a good start. Hopefully, over tonight, we can continue that into tomorrow and make a couple of further improvements."
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Norris backs McLaren to iron out their problems
The challenge now for McLaren will be turning their fine Friday into a points-scoring Sunday, with Norris confident that the British outfit can iron out their final few problems.
"I think we have a bit more work to do in the long runs; I'm a bit more confident in the short runs," continued Norris.
"I think a bit of it is our car limitation, and a bit of that is exposed a bit more in the high fuel pace. I think we have a bit to understand there.
"There are maybe some improvements to make for tomorrow, but I think it's stuff we can definitely try and fix."
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