Norris: Not competitive enough to fight for Q3

Norris: Not competitive enough to fight for Q3Lando Norris admitted after Friday practice at Monza that McLaren are not competitive enough to fight for Q3 during Saturday’s qualifying.

Friday started in a bad way for Norris who finished FP1 16th fastest, but seemed to improve during FP2, which he finished fourth keeping in mind some drivers – Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, and Sergio Perez – finishing lower than usual.

Norris reflected on his opening day at Monza, starting with a tribute for Queen Elizabeth II, saying: “Before I talk about the on-track activity today, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday. She was an inspirational figure, and my thoughts are with the Royal Family.”

On the racing front, the Briton admitted progress was done through the day but he remained unconfident of his team’s chances.

“Reasonable day,” Norris said. “We made good progress through today, so I’m happy with the progress that we’ve made.

“We’re still not where we need to be,” he lamented. “I don’t think we’re competitive enough yet to really fight confidently for, say, Q3 at the minute.

“We’ll keep working very hard. I think we’ve understood some things better today, after learning from the past few weeks, but like I said, still not quite where we need to be.

“So, a few adjustments tonight and a bit of homework and set-up tweaks and hopefully we can take a small step forward, and that gives us confidence to be in a good position tomorrow,” the 22-year-old concluded.

Daniel Ricciardo encouraged by Norris’ afternoon form

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo added: “Firstly, I want to pass on my condolences to the Royal Family following the sad news of the passing of Her Majesty The Queen yesterday, my thoughts are with them and the people of the Commonwealth at this time.”

The Australian won the race at Monza back in 2021. He finished FP1 tenth fastest, and dropped to 11th in FP2, and reflected on his day saying: “This track is so unique that you come with such a different set-up, so you don’t know what to expect.

“I think the morning went relatively well,” he revealed. “We made a few changes for the afternoon and across cars we tried a few different things. Lando’s afternoon looked really good, so that’s encouraging, so we will try to learn some things from that set-up.

“I think my afternoon was average – but I’m encouraged by his pace and looking forward to tomorrow,” the Australian concluded.

With both Alpine drivers showing decent pace around the Temple of Speed this weekend, McLaren get under more pressure in their fight with the French team for fourth in the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship.