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Lando Norris

Norris pinpoints key McLaren strength as he addresses F1 title talk

Lando Norris has addressed talk of challenging for the F1 title as he made an observation about McLaren and its nearest rivals.

Norris Imola
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris believes McLaren's ability to have two cars fighting at the head of the Formula 1 field could make the difference in a potential title fight with Red Bull.

The MCL38 received its first big upgrade package in Miami, with Norris taking a maiden career win as he finished second at Imola, with team-mate Oscar Piastri suffering damage in Miami before taking fifth last time out at Imola. 

However, Piastri and Norris had qualified within a tenth of Verstappen for the first European race of the season, before the former received a grid penalty that dropped him back into traffic he was unable to clear - but the underlying pace of the McLaren is strong. 

At Imola, Verstappen's team-mate Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q2, starting 11th and only finishing in eighth place after an off, with Norris highlighting the fact that he felt having two cars consistently fighting at the head of the field would prove vital. 

"I think we're probably the team along with Ferrari where we have two cars up there performing in every single session, every single qualifying and race," Norris told media including RacingNews365.

"If you look at a lot of the grid, they don't really have that - you have one guy who has put in a mega lap and has a good race and then the other one not so much.

"One of our strings is that we've always had two cars up there and we can fight well along with Ferrari at the minute. 

"So if we keep doing that, then yeah, for sure we can stay in it."

Points between team-mates in 2024

Driver 1 Points Driver 2 Points % difference
Max Verstappen 161 Sergio Perez 107 66.45
Charles Leclerc 113 Carlos Sainz 93 82.30
Lando Norris 101 Oscar Piastri 53 52.47
George Russell 44 Lewis Hamilton 35 79.54
Fernando Alonso 33 Lance Stroll 11 33.33
Esteban Ocon 1 Pierre Gasly 0 0
Yuki Tsunoda 15 Daniel Ricciardo 5 33.33
Nico Hulkenberg 6 Kevin Magnussen 1 16.66
Alex Albon 0 Logan Sargeant 0 0
Valtteri Bottas 0 Zhou Guanyu 0 0

As the table below shows, Perez actually has the third-highest conversion rate on the grid in terms of matching his team-mates points at 66.45%, with Piastri only hauling 52.47% of Norris's points thus far. 

Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz are the most closely matched at 82.30%, with Sainz missing a race in Saudi Arabia.

Norris is 60 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers' standings and also cooled talk of challenging for the title.

"I mean, I am about 60 points behind Max, and there is a long, long way to go," he added.

"So I am definitely not thinking about it, and it doesn't change anything, we've not thought about it over the last four weeks.

"You just concentrate on getting a good result and things just play out for themselves, but we have definitely put ourselves in [the title fight].

"We lost a lot over the first couple of weekends, so that hurt us, but its still kind of a third of the way [through the season], so there are plenty of opportunities for us.

"We know some things are coming in the future, and if things turn around, then we can easily start to come back at some of the teams."

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RESULTS 2024 F1 Spanish Grand Prix - FP2