Lando Norris fears that his McLaren team are facing a tough fight with Alpine to be the fourth-best team in this year's F1 Constructors' Championship.
The two teams are currently deadlocked on 81 points going into the French Grand Prix, with McLaren ahead only by virtue of Norris' third place at Imola being a higher finish than Alpine have managed so far in 2022.
The French squad have closed the gap on McLaren over the last three Grands Prix, with Fernando Alonso notably qualifying second in Canada, and Norris acknowledged that the Woking squad would need to be at their best to stave off Alpine's advances.
McLaren/Alpine battle could be tough, says Norris
"I think it's going to be very tough," Norris told media, including RacingNews365.com, of the struggle to stay ahead of Alpine.
"The Alpines, all season, I think it's been evident that they've been extremely quick. Fernando's always been there, fighting for pole sometimes, as well.
"So they're fast, they're consistent as well, and especially now, they seem on a very good run with a very strong car.
"It's going to be tough to keep them behind and keep the battle going, but we're motivated, we know we can do it.
"I think we've been showing that even with a car which maybe isn't quite as strong as them, we can still outperform them and outscore them, so hopefully, especially because it's their home race, we can get one up."
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Norris impressing again in 2022
Norris currently sits seventh in the Drivers' Championship with 64 points, and is the only driver not with Ferrari, Red Bull or Mercedes to have scored a podium so far in 2022.
The Briton has comprehensively outscored and outperformed teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who has only 17 points to his name at this stage of the season.
Alpine's current form suggests the Enstone outfit have closed the gap on McLaren relative to both teams' performances last season, when McLaren ended the year with 275 points versus Alpine's 155.
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