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Norris admits Red Bull and Ferrari “a long way ahead of us”

McLaren in Azerbaijan. Credits: McLaren (Twitter: @McLarenF1).

After a difficult afternoon practice session in Baku, Lando Norris feels Ferrari and Red Bull are “quite a way ahead” of McLaren. The Brit, however, sees room for improvement and is not disappointed about his first day in Azerbaijan.

Norris finished both practice sessions in P8, behind Ricciardo in the morning, but ahead of him in the afternoon. The expectations were probably a bit higher coming from McLaren after their outstanding Monaco performance, but Norris is still confident and feeling good in the car, although he is still not exactly where he wants to be.

“I think the car feels pretty good. I’m quite confident in the car, just some things to improve. We’re there or thereabouts but not quite where we want to be,” Norris said.

“We were definitely a bit more competitive in FP1 than FP2, so I don’t know if it’s because of the temperatures or the track conditions that we suffered a little bit more in P2.”

“But things are good.”

“I think it looks very close between us, AlphaTauri, Renaults [Alpines], and so on.”

“Ferrari and Red Bull look quite a long way ahead of us, so it’s going to be tough. Just getting into Q3’s going to be the main target and see what we can do from there.”

If the Woking-based team can find the right setup, they may be able to display some good results for the second week in a row and keep up with Ferrari in the championship. Ricciardo also mentioned feeling quite good in the MCL35 and is glad his preparation has paid off as he now thinks he is understanding the behavior of the car better.

“I did quite a bit of work from Monaco into this race, spent a few days on the sim and I think the work has paid off, I think the understanding of the car [has improved],” Ricciardo said.

“So everything feels as expected, and I’ve just got to now execute what I know I can do and just put it all together.”

“It is quite close. A few tenths gets us up into about P6 or P7 probably. But it was better, a better day. A bit of work tonight but I think it’s going to be a pretty close weekend. There’s a lot of teams that can be within a few tenths of each other.”

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