Norris happy with P4 but gap to leaders 'still massive'

© XPB 

Lando Norris says he achieved what he set out to accomplish in Hungary by out-racing his Alpine rivals, but the McLaren charger was a bit taken down by his massive gap at the end of the day with F1's leaders.

Norris qualified an impressive P4 on Saturday which gave him hope that he could be in the mix on race day for a top five finish.

But without a bit of luck, that was always going to be a tall order for the McLaren driver who concluded his afternoon P7, although with a comfortable lead over the Alpine duo of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon.

"If you get P4 as a grid position then you expect a bit more on Sunday, and to end 62 seconds behind the next car ahead of me, it's a big challenge to do anything more from that," he admitted.

"Therefore, our race was against Alpine, the cars behind me. We did a good job with them, managing the tyres, especially in the first stint.

"I think I destroyed my front-left tyre after like six laps, and I was very worried because we aim for lap 20 or 25. It didn't really go to plan at all."

However, when spared a tyre management exercise, Norris reckoned his MCL36 was strong.

"I think our pace, when there weren't any issues with tyres or management was strong, stronger than Alpine today which is good news," he said.

"But we just seemed to destroy the tyres a lot quicker than anyone else. That's the only thing we need to work on.

"But the middle stint was strong and the final stint was easy, I was just on my own. We did everything we could and P7, I have to be happy with."

Taking stock of the first half of his season ahead of F1's summer break, Norris was asked if he was happy with his 2022 campaign so far.

"I am. For myself, for my driving, I'm happy," he replied.

"Some good highlights. Still don't know how I got a podium in Imola, it just blows my mind. With the car that we have, that's quite an achievement. Still makes me smile.

"A lot of positives, but we know we have a lot of hard work to do.

"The gap to the guys ahead is still massive. I guess it's close on Saturday, but everyone is closer on Saturday, even last place is a lot closer. It's just the spread on Sunday is bigger than what it's been in the past.

"We've got to work on that, and we will, but I'll enjoy my break first!"

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