Lando Norris has been a revelation for McLaren since joining the team in 2019, getting better year by year and consistently challenging in the top half of the grid regardless of the quality of his car.
The young Brit has had an astonishing year, sat seventh in the drivers’ championship on 109 points, behind only the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drivers.
The 22-year-old is yet to secure his first win but has picked up a podium this year in Imola despite McLaren initially struggling to adapt to the new regulations and languishing towards the back of the grid at the season opener in Bahrain.
Ahead of qualifying for the 2022 Mexican Grand Prix, Norris has said that his car felt ‘not amazing’ but puts this down to the track and its unusual conditions rather than point the blame at the car itself.
“I think that’s just the expectation of this track,” he explained.
“Very low downforce, slippery circuit, dusty, so you know, it wasn’t a bad day, we learned a lot and made some good progress on the car but it’s hard to know on a day like today.
“We’ll keep working and see where we are tomorrow.”
FP2 was taken over by a Pirelli tyre test for the second weekend running which leaves drivers with limited time on track to truly gather data and get a feel for what their car will be like on race day, but Norris believes that this has not impacted the driver’s learning too much.
The Mexican Grand Prix has the lowest air density of any track this year due to the high altitude and this comes with the track being dusty and slippy, as Charles Leclerc found out when he spun into the barriers at Turn 8.
“The tyres are not that different at the end of the day so I think everyone still learns something,” he said about losing FP2 to a tyre test.
“So it’s not too big of a difference going back into tomorrow.”
The Brit signed another multi-year contract at McLaren last year, tying him down for the foreseeable future however there has been suggestions that he is running out of patience with the team that gave him his F1 debut.
The McLaren looked to be an impressive car towards the end of last year but they are yet to reach that level with the new regulations.
And with Norris hunting for his first win, he must reach a point where he needs to seek the machinery to match his skill, with many seeing the 22-year-old as a future world champion.