‘Finished already’: Lando Norris makes Mercedes engine revelation

Lando Norris pitted six times during the season-opener in Bahrain, after needing to be constantly topped up with air following a pneumatic problem.

Lando Norris has painfully revealed that McLaren have been forced to replace his MCL60’s internal combustion engine, MGU-H, MGU-K, turbocharger and exhaust system, with the British driver having admitted that his Mercedes engine from Bahrain is “finished already”.

Whilst Norris won’t receive a grid penalty for the engine change due to using parts in his allotted pool, the likelihood is that he will be slapped with a penalty later in the year, given how early his team have been forced into making the change.

Norris’ first engine of the season suffered from a pneumatic pressure leak during the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, which resulted in Norris pitting six times so that his car could be topped-up with air.

“I took a whole new engine, because the other one’s finished already,” said Norris, ahead of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

READ: Ex-F1 driver joins Mercedes as Toto Wolff takes a leaf out of Red Bull’s book

Despite having had a new engine fitted, the opening day at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit wasn’t brilliant for the 23-year-old, who ended Free Practice 1 in last.

Free Practice 2 was better for the McLaren driver, with him having set the 12th fastest time in the evening session on Friday.

Whilst his position may fill his fans with fear, it should be noted that Norris didn’t complete a flying lap in FP1, whilst he also made a “little mistake” on his best lap in FP2.

A small mistake will likely make a huge difference come qualifying, with just two-tenths having separated 10th to 13th in FP2.

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The car is feeling “alright” so far for Norris, but he does believe that Williams are “a lot quicker than us”, suggesting that simply making it into Q2 could be a challenge for the Woking-based team.

“I didn’t do my [flying] lap in FP1, but it’s close,” Norris added.

READ: Fernando Alonso refusing to get carried away ahead of Saudi Arabian GP

“The split between me and last place was two-tenths [in FP2], so if I had made a little mistake, it’s last place, so it’s very close, all the midfield.

“Alpine are up the road on the whole midfield, so they’ve vaulted to the front, and even Williams seem a lot quicker than us too.

“It feels alright, to be honest, the car. Struggling quite a bit with overall balance, but just doing the best with what we’ve got.”