Lando Norris looks confident coming out of Suzuka, but doesn’t see himself and McLaren as favourites – It’s “almost a guarantee” that Red Bull will fight back
“I think Lando, with his high-speed performance, could be the favourite this weekend,” Mercedes driver George Russell said of Lando Norris and McLaren on Thursday ahead of this weekend’s Formula One race at Suzuka.
Norris himself, however, wants nothing at all to do with such a role as favourite. It’s “almost a guarantee” that Red Bull will fight back this weekend, he says, explaining, “I think Red Bull will probably dominate this weekend.”
At the last race in Singapore, the Red Bull drivers failed to finish higher than fifth and eighth, while Norris finished second behind Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz. But can McLaren be as strong in Japan as they were in Singapore?
Asked if the Singapore updates for the MCL60 will perform similarly this weekend, Norris replied, “It’s hard to say. I don’t know.” But he certainly hopes so, because, “Everything did what it was supposed to do.”
“And I think we’ve definitely made some steps forward,” says Norris, who reminds us, however, that Suzuka is “a very different track to Singapore”. He could not, therefore, confidently claim “that we’re as quick as Red Bull.”
Especially as the McLaren has often lacked consistency this year. Norris explains, “I think if you compare us to Ferrari and Mercedes, Mercedes have just been a lot more consistent than we have been. We still fluctuate quite a bit. “
“On a good weekend we can be very, very good and maybe even a little bit in front,” Norris says, citing the Silverstone race as an example where he finished second and even led the Grand Prix briefly at the start.
“But on the whole Mercedes have probably had the second best car this season, followed by Ferrari and then us,” Norris says. That is also reflected in the world championship, which is currently led by Red Bull ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari.
McLaren, on the other hand, is only fifth behind Aston Martin, but has been able to make up a lot of points on the team from Silverstone in recent weeks. And even if they don’t come to Japan as favourites, it could still be another good weekend.