Lando Norris has played down McLaren's apparent strong showing in pre-season testing.
The Woking-based squad put in the third-highest number of laps during the test in Barcelona, with only Ferrari and Mercedes ahead of them respectively. They also looked to have avoided suffering too badly from 'porpoising', an issue that has affected most teams.
George Russell even stated that McLaren and Ferrari seemed to have an early advantage over the Silver Arrows based on their form in testing.
In response to this, Norris told media including RacingNews365.com: "I think it's been a decent start.
"George obviously topped the timesheets [in Friday morning's session], so if he thinks we're strong, we're going to think he's strong.
"I think if there's any team on the grid right now that you'll expect to be at the front come when it matters, it's going to be Mercedes and probably Red Bull."
McLaren in a "good" place rather than "amazing"
Whilst Norris is happy with what McLaren achieved, he has downplayed the idea that the team performed particularly strongly at the test.
"I don't think we're in an amazing place," the Briton said.
"I think we're in a good place. We had a car which, as soon as you put [it] on the track, worked well.
"Of course, there's always some new things and some unexpected issues here and there, but it's been a good start. I think it's been clean.
"We've worked on our programme, we worked through the things you want to work through. And of course, it's the first time we get to really compare things to the simulator and the simulations we've had for the last two years or so.
"So it's been productive. We've made a lot of progress. Obviously, a lot of stuff to work on for us, and myself as a driver. A lot of things learned, so [I'm] happy with the day and a half [of running I had in the car] so far."
Norris admits that "we've had our issues"
When asked whether he was surprised by the speed and reliability of the new 2022 F1 cars, Norris explained: "No. I don't expect bad things to happen. You work at the highest level, so you don't want to expect bad things."
However, the driver admits that there were still occasional issues behind the scenes for McLaren, just as he expects was the case for every other team.
"I think we still had a lot of issues," Norris added.
"It's not like we had a perfect [time]. Maybe from the outside it looked amazing, but still many things behind the scenes which are... not out of control but [are] just [things to] work on and fix and we'll amend for the future.
"So I think it was as expected. I think we've had our issues. I think a lot of other teams have had their issues as well, and it's just [a case of] trying to iron them out and make sure they don't happen, either [at] the following [testing] days or into next time."
The teams and drivers will get a another chance to test the new cars at the second pre-season test in Bahrain on 10-12 March.
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