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Norris anticipating 'big fight' with Mercedes after unexpected qualifying result

Lando Norris achieved his best grid position of the season so far in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, having secured P4 ahead of both Mercedes cars.

Lando Norris is anticipating a fierce battle with the Mercedes cars in the Australian Grand Prix after qualifying just ahead of them. Following a difficult start to the season for McLaren, the Briton secured his best grid slot so far in Melbourne by taking P4, with only Ferrari's Charles Leclerc and the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez ahead of him. Norris admits that he wasn't expecting such a strong result. "I think we were hoping for a good result," he told media, including RacingNews365.com , after qualifying. "I think we were expecting, or hoping, to get into Q3. But to be P4, I wouldn't say we were expecting that. To be ahead of the Mercedes, to be ahead of everyone else apart from Red Bull and Ferrari, we can be very happy with that. "We've worked hard, I guess we've made some small steps forward. But also the car is just much quicker here, it's working better since FP1. I did the first few laps and already felt a lot more confident."

Norris expecting Mercedes battle in "good race"

After such a promising result in qualifying, Norris is hopeful that he can follow this up in Sunday's race. The 22-year-old has the Mercedes pair of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell behind him in fifth and sixth respectively, and is expecting to battle with them as well as the Alpines. "I think we can expect a good race," Norris explained. "I think it's going be a big fight with Mercedes, probably the Alpines as well." The McLaren driver also thinks that the track changes made to Albert Park could prove to be a factor in the Grand Prix. "[There's] going to be a few new situations, [with the] new tarmac, a new circuit, a lot of DRS zones, although one of them's been taken away," Norris said. "It's still going to be a track you can race well at. We'll see, but we can score some good points tomorrow, and that's going to be the aim for us."

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