Lando Norris has revealed that McLaren was expecting a worse outcome to a "damage-limitation" Italian Grand Prix.
The Briton already expected it to be a tough challenge for McLaren to pass Alexander Albon, after qualifying behind the Williams with its superior straight-line speed.
As it turned out, Norris spent much of the second-half of the race tucked up behind Albon's rear-wing, unable to pass the FW45 in the MCL60, which was not expected to be a strong package at Monza with its straight-line weaknesses.
But Norris said team feared an even worst result than the four points he banked, although there were some positives.
"At times we were expecting not to even be in the points, so I'm happy with it [result]. I think it was a damage limitation," he told media, including RacingNews365:
Norris was happy with the progress they made on low downforce tracks, with McLaren having shown their strengths earlier at Spa Francorchamps.
"At the same time good to see progress be made on the low downforce circuits.
"I know there wasn't a lot [of new parts] and a bit of it is just things you have from last year and trying to optimise them for here.
"But we made some good improvements and it was a race-able car, which is a good step forward. There's only one more low downforce track this season."
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Norris praises Albon
Norris praised the job by Albon after the Williams driver managed to finish ahead of both McLaren's.
Teammate Oscar Piastri got ahead of Albon on the opening lap, but the superior straight line speed of the FW45 enabled him to re-take the position.
McLaren's main strengths were in the corners, but Norris found it tough to stay with Albon long enough to make a move at the end of the straights.
"He didn't make any mistakes, which is annoying. But I tried, we had good battles," said Norris.
"I'm still happy. Tough because of the Williams maybe not allowing us to get as many points as we I think could have achieved."