Lando Norris surprisingly optimistic after 2023 Bahrain GP

Both McLaren drivers were forced to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Heading into the first race of the season in Bahrain, it was already clear that McLaren would not be one of the teams fighting for podiums and a huge haul of points.

Team principal Andrea Stella had admitted during pre-season testing that McLaren had missed a number of deadlines on the MCL60 heading into testing, leaving the team behind schedule heading into the season opener.

While McLaren were not expected to do anything spectacular at the Bahrain Grand Prix, the disaster that unfolded was much worse that what the team would have expected.

Oscar Piastri qualified in P18 and was forced to retire from the race after on 13 laps with an electrical problem while Lando Norris started from P11 but was hindered by pneumatic issue.

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The Brit was forced to pit six times to manage the issue before eventually retiring from the race only a couple of laps from the end.

While some fans have made McLaren’s experience in Bahrain out to be an absolute nightmare, Norris has suggested that the team should not be too downbeat about the weekend as a whole.

“There’s no reason why they should be downbeat. The main thing is we should have scored points. That was our objective with a car we know is not that competitive,” he explained.

“The team knows that and if we fix the issue, we should be fine.

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“It’s not as bad as everyone expected before the season, it’s not as bad as everyone as expecting before the test and before the race.

“As I said, we should have scored points. Simple as that. And that’s what we’ll try to do next time.”

Heading into the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Norris is targeting a points finish with McLaren, having had success at the circuit in the past.

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“We’ve scored points in the past in Jeddah. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have scored points [in Bahrain] and that continues into the next race,” he said.

“We still believe we can score points with the car we have, which makes us even more optimistic for the later part of the season.”

Norris will be hoping that McLaren can improve over the course of the season, as the Brit remains on the hunt for his first race win in Formula 1.