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Norris: We've had a good car all weekend

Norris: We’ve had a good car all weekend

Norris: We've had a good car all weekend

Lando Norris believes he and the team can “score strong points” at the Japanese Grand Prix following an impressive showing in Saturday’s Qualifying session at Suzuka.

The Briton will line up in third position at the start of the 53-lap race, with teammate Oscar Piastri starting from the third row of the grid in P6.

While McLaren were unable to match the pace of Championship leaders Oracle Red Bull Racing, they looked to have gotten the better of nearest rivals Scuderia Ferrari during Qualifying. The latter’s two drivers, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc, could only manage fourth and eighth places respectively.

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The Woking-based outfit currently sit third in the Constructors’ Championship on 55 points, behind Red Bull and Ferrari. With Norris on 28 points and Piastri on 27 after three rounds, overall pace is good and seems evenly matched between the pair.

Norris hopes that this will translate into solid points for the team as a whole come Sunday. He said after Qualifying: “I’m very happy with today, we had a competitive car, and I could fight in qualifying with good laps, especially in Q3.

“It’s always enjoyable to come here in front of the fans and I’m pleased to have secured P3 on the grid going into tomorrow’s race We’ve had a good car all weekend and taken steps forward which is pleasing. We’re working hard and that hard work is gradually paying off.

“Today’s a good start to the weekend but tomorrow’s where we have the opportunity to score strong points as a team”, stated the 24-year-old, hunting his first win in the top flight.

Seems very tight out there

Norris: We've had a good car all weekend

Piastri, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Qualy day in Japan, was unable to get close to the lap time managed by Norris, and ultimately ended the session in sixth. The Australian driver was certainly expecting more from himself, stating: “P6 in quali, I just didn’t quite have it from Q2 onwards, struggling to find the rhythm which is frustrating.

“I’ve got a couple of areas to focus on overnight with my engineers, but it seems very tight out there. Tomorrow’s a good opportunity for me to improve and secure points in the race”, concluded Piastri.

McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella is pleased with the outcome of Saturday’s Qualifying. He said: “It was a positive qualifying session for the team. P3 and P6 today puts us in position to score good points tomorrow.

“It’s also gratifying to see we are the second-best team behind Red Bull – albeit with the caveat that we know this track suits the characteristics of our car and it’s only qualifying conditions.”

The Italian went on to praise his two drivers for their performance during the session: “Praise goes to both Lando and Oscar for putting together good laps in Q1 and Q2, enabling them to progress through those sessions on only one set of tyres each, keeping two new sets for Q3.

“The drivers and the whole team have done a good job so far. We now have to prepare well and capitalise on today with a strong race result,” concluded Stella.

The Japanese Grand Prix begins at 06:00 GMT (14:00 local time) on Sunday April 7th.