‘I’m expecting pain’: Norris warns things could get even worse for McLaren

McLaren endured a dreadful opening weekend of the 2022 season in Bahrain as they failed to score any points.

Lando Norris is doing his best to remain optimistic about McLaren’s performance prospects following their abysmal weekend at the season-opening 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Norris qualified thirteenth on Saturday, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo five places back in 18th, and it was the first time in 28 races that neither McLaren had made the final qualifying session.

The race itself did not yield any more joy for the Woking side, with the Australian ending the evening in P14, one position ahead of the 22-year-old.

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It was an excruciating evening for McLaren, and Norris warns that his team are going to need to brace themselves for more difficult races.

“I’m expecting pain, and I think everyone needs to know there’s probably going to be a bit of pain,” he said.

“As McLaren, and myself, we expect a lot more, but it’s not what we have at the minute, we have to get used to it, we’ve been in this position a few years ago but we have to remain optimistic the team and everyone back at MTC [McLaren Technology Centre] can figure things out and we can get back on track.

“I’m hoping this is as bad as it gets, might not be, could be, there’s a lot of time, we still have a whole season of development and figuring things out.”

Norris jovially described his race as “amazing” in one of his post-race interviews on Sunday, but he acknowledges that McLaren will have to acclimatise themselves to an extended period away from the podium places.

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“It’s a brave face,” he stated.

“Of course, difficult. I’m sure it looked as bad as it felt. This is where we are, quite simply, we just have to get a little bit used to it now.

“Of course over the last few seasons there’s been a lot of expectation from us within the team but also everyone else watching and we just haven’t got it right at the minute. We’re a long, long way off, not a little bit, a long way.”

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The development and evolution of the cars under the all-new technical regulations is such that McLaren fans can remain hopeful of improvements to the MCL36.

But, for now at least, it would appear that they need to brace themselves for a little more misfortune as the paddock heads to Saudi Arabia this weekend.