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Ferrari quicker than McLaren in qualifying but not race, says Norris

Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 looks on in the Paddock during previews ahead of Formula 1 Testing at Bahrain International Circuit on March 11, 2021 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Following an underwhelming 2020 Formula 1 season, Ferrari have worked over the winter in order to reduce the gap to the frontrunners, the Bahrain GP displaying the progress the team has made, and pointing out that the Scuderia might be heading in the right direction in 2021.

McLaren driver Lando Norris explained that Ferrari appears to be stronger in qualifying, with the Woking team still holding an advantage in the race. Having qualified 7th place in Sakhir, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in 4th, Norris finished the race in 4th position, showing better pace than the Italian team throughout the Grand Prix.

“More because I overtook Charles five, six, seven laps into the race rather than at the start. That was because we just had a better car and some speed,” said Norris.

He later added “Saturdays are difficult for us, I think, a little bit like last year”, showing that the slight qualifying deficiency is not new at McLaren, the team having had the same struggle the year before.

“But we’re at race one and it’s Bahrain, a track where normally we do quite well at. So we need to be at some different tracks a little bit more often, we have to see after some more tracks where we really stand.” ending with “So I don’t want to say anything yet (…) but we had a good Sunday, the car was good, so I can be positive about that.”

On the other side of the paddock, Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, while talking about the Bahrain GP, said he feels he had much better feel that McLaren’s Ricciardo.

“I think I had much better pace than Daniel [Ricciardo] there towards the end of the race (…) we were catching at more than half a second per lap, and there’s positive signs.”

Ferrari are right in the mix with McLaren after Bahrain, with both teams waiting to learn more about their cars at Imola.

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