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Norris: Ferrari, Red Bull still one or two steps ahead

Norris: Ferrari, Red Bull still one or two steps ahead

Norris: Ferrari, Red Bull still one or two steps ahead

Lando Norris finished third in the 2024 Australian Grand Prix, McLaren’s first podium this season, but the Briton insists Ferrari and Red Bull are steps ahead.

Sunday in Melbourne was a good day for McLaren, as Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri starting the race third and fifth respectively, the former finishing where he started, the latter gaining one position.

Max Verstappen retiring at the beginning of the race, made the life of his rivals easier, especially as Sergio Perez in the remaining Red Bull did not pose much of a threat on the McLarens or Ferraris who ended up fighting each other for the podium positions, as winner Carlos Sainz seemed to be out of reach.

While McLaren imposed team orders to get Norris ahead of Piastri, being on fresher tyres, hoping he would launch an attack on Charles Leclerc, the latter managed to keep the #4 McLaren at bay.

However, Norris was happy with his final result, he said in McLaren’s post race press release: “Our first podium of the season! It was a very good day for us.

“P3, P4 and lots of points in the championship. I think our pace was strong today, but Ferrari and Carlos did a very good job, so hats off to them. They’ve been fast all weekend. The car felt good, and I could manage the tyres very well today, and that was a good step,” he added.

However, the 24-year-old remains aware of the challenge McLaren have to catch Red Bull and Mercedes, he said: “It’s clear that this circuit suits us a little bit more, so we’ve been able to push and unlock a little bit of speed.

“But Ferrari and Red Bull are still one or two steps ahead of us, so we need to catch up. A big thanks to everyone in McLaren, they’ve been working incredibly hard.

“We’re getting closer to our target. I wasn’t expecting to be on the podium but it’s nice to be back, I’m very happy and proud of our team. Hopefully, we can have many more,” Norris concluded.

Piastri: A successful week at home

Piastri missed out on a podium finish in front of his home crowd, but nevertheless insists it was a good outcome, he said: “P4. A good result for us.

“I think the pace was good the whole way through. I struggled a little bit on the first set of Hards, I just grained them a little bit and then had a little bit of a moment. I think it was a very good day in terms of points for the team. I don’t think there was too much we could have done on my side.

“I’m pretty happy. So close to a podium but it will come. Lando did a great job today getting the P3. All in all, a successful week at home,” the young Aussie concluded.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella commented on his team’s weekend down under, he added: “Our first podium of the season has come with a very strong performance here in Australia.

“Albert Park definitely seemed to suit the MCL38 but finishing P3 and P4 also required the team to do an amazing job delivering performance and reliability, while the drivers were excellent today in how they coped with the tyres.

“It is a big team effort, on both sides of the world,” the Italian continued. “I would like to thank all the men and women at McLaren and HPP who have worked very hard so far to consolidate and continue the positive journey that we started in 2023.

“I hope the team at home, and our partners, enjoy this podium as much as the trackside team. We now look ahead to our next double header starting in Japan,” Stella concluded.