Lando Norris claims McLaren car ‘very unsuited’ to him but has Belgian GP confidence

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LANDO NORRIS has admitted to having trouble adapting to his McLaren car this year.

F1: Lando Norris says he didn’t think he’d make podium

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Lando Norris has dismissed claims that McLaren designed their car to cater to his demands and admitted it is “very unsuited” to his driving style. The British-Belgian driver has opened up on the struggles the team have had in delivering a competitive race car, with Norris himself conceding he was not happy with their 2022 model, the MCL 36, at the start of the season.

It was expected that McLaren were going to compete along with Ferrari for the F1 Drivers’ and Constructors’ titles after the 2022 regulation changes. But the Woking-based manufacturer have endured a disappointing season so far, with only one podium finish and 95 points in the Constructors’ Championship.

The team have had issues with porpoising and finding race pace, leaving Norris to settle for points finishes. And the Briton has revealed the extent to which he has struggled with performance this year, claiming the car was not suited to the way he drives at the start of the year.

“It’s not that I hate driving the car I’m driving now, but it’s very unsuited to my driving style,” he told the F1 Beyond the Grid Podcast. “At the beginning of the year, it suited Daniel a lot more than it suited me in terms of how you had to drive it and that’s something I really struggled with at the beginning of the season.

READ MORE: Norris gave backing to ‘proven’ Daniel Ricciardo before McLaren axe

Lando Norris claims McLaren car 'very unsuited' to him but has Belgian GP confidence

Lando Norris: The British driver says he is not suited to driving his McLaren car (Image: LightRocket)

“I’m adapted to it a lot more now and more suited to it, but it’s far from a car that I’d want in an ideal world and so, if I wanted to go and do the best lap possible and you give me that car to do so, it’s definitely not the car that I have now.”

When asked if he and Ricciardo have different setups, he replied: “We do drive in different ways and what we request on the car is quite different. People all think that he doesn’t suit the car and that I do suit the car, and the car is all made around me, but it couldn’t be more untrue. “

They are fortunate that the 23-year-old has been a consistent performer on the racetrack, once again overachieving in terms what the car’s performance is capable of producing. Norris has finished inside the top six on four occasions this season, including a stellar drive at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to seal a podium finish — the sixth of his short career.

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Lando Norris claims McLaren car 'very unsuited' to him but has Belgian GP confidence

Lando Norris: McLaren have collected just 95 points so far in 2022 (Image: Getty Images)

In total, he has accumulated 76 points which puts him in seventh in the Drivers’ Championship. His team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, meanwhile, has mustered only 19 points in the 13 races so far this season.

But ahead of this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix, which Norris counts as a “home race” as his mother hails from the country, he is confident they have improved after bringing upgrades to the car over the summer break.

“I expect it [the car to be competitive], we definitely took some steps forward at Paul Ricard with the upgrades” he said.

Lando Norris claims McLaren car 'very unsuited' to him but has Belgian GP confidence

Spa Francorchamps: The circuit of the Belgian Grand Prix (Image: Getty Images)

“We’ve managed to exploit them and use them to their potential in Budapest, but it’s still a different track.

“Budapest is where you put a bit of downforce on the car, whereas Spa you have to be very efficient and want low downforce for the straight, but you want to produce a lot of downforce at that level for the middle sector.

“But we’ve been OK at similar places at that level, like Saudi, so it should be a good track.”


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