Norris bidding to maintain momentum into Shanghai


It's been a strong start to his rookie season for McLaren's Lando Norris, and the teenager is aiming to ensure that he continues building on that momentum into Shanghai this weekend.

Norris was the star of qualifying at Melbourne, and while the race itself didn't do so well he soon redeemed himself by taking his first championship points in Bahrain.

“Last weekend went well for us in Bahrain, so I’m going to try and carry that momentum forward to the Chinese Grand Prix," Norris commented this week.

Having worked his way through the FIA European Formula 3 series and then the Formula 2 feeder series, Norris is new to F1's 'flyaway' venues this year - meaning he faces a steep learning curve in Shanghai.

"Another race and another new circuit," he acknowledged. “I’m looking forward to trying out the Shanghai track for the first time. I’ve done plenty of practice in the sim so now I’m excited to drive it for real."

He'll be hoping to match his sixth place finish last time out. However, he admits he's been surprised at just how competitive McLaren has been in the early stages of the 2019 season compared to their main midfield rivals.

“Between qualifying and the race it’s definitely one of the strongest [performances] for quite some time,” Norris said of McLaren's showing in Bahrain.

“Our race pace seems better than we anticipated," he added. "[But] there’s still a lot of work to do to be consistently here and beating the midfield guys."

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL34.

It's not been such a good start for his team mate Carlos Sainz, who unlike Norris has failed to finish either of the season's first two races.

“Carlos has a lot more potential than he’s shown,” Norris insisted. “He showed it in [Bahrain] qualifying so he deserves to get points and be up where I was."

“He didn’t deserve [to retire]. I’m sure he’s gutted to not get [to the finish line in] two races, the first two where you need the confidence," he added. “He’ll bounce back, I know he will.”

As for Norris, he's looking firmly forward - but also with an eye to history. While China will be only his third F1 race outing, it's a much larger landmark event in the the history of the championship.

Taking part in a major milestone for the sport is something from which the youngster is taking a lot of pride.

“I have a one-off helmet design for China to celebrate the 1,000th Grand Prix race,” Norris revealed. "It’s really exciting to be taking part in this special occasion on only my third F1 entry.”

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