Norris: MCL60 'definitely the best it's felt' so far

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Lando Norris concluded Friday's practice in Bahrain certainly feeling more upbeat then after pre-season testing, having enjoyed a productive opening day of running onboard an improved McLaren MCL60.

From the team's presentation in Woking to its performance in last week's three-day test, a somber mood appeared to linger over McLaren.

Comments by technical director Andrea Stella on the current lack of development of the team's MCL60 were confirmed out on the track last week at Sakhir where the McLaren's challenger displayed a crucial lack of aero efficiency, a deficit that positioned team papaya in the lower tier of F1's midfield, or well adrift from its targeted spot in F1's pecking order.

However, Norris says McLaren took all its learnings from the past week and applied them to achieve a step forward. Norris exited FP2 in ninth place, but just 0.663s behind the session's pace setter, Fernando Alonso.

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"I think pretty reasonable," said Norris when asked how his car had performed at the end of the day.

"I guess we came here with a lot of stuff learned, so we kind of put everything best on the car that we know of, we set up in the best way.

"Definitely the best itโ€™s felt all year, or letโ€™s say from the test to now, which is a good sign. We made some steps forward and definitely moved things in the right direction.

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"Still more to find for sure, but at the same time I felt a bit more comfortable today, I felt like I could push the car a little bit more, definitely the cooler conditions helping us a little bit, but at the same time a productive day.

"We know where we stand, we know what we have to do to make things better and make the car quicker, itโ€™s just not an easy job to do."

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Friday's second practice session saw the top thirteen separated by a just 0.975s, a remarkably tight spread that should lead to an exciting qualifying and race reckons Norris.

"I mean, not going to lie, it looks tighter, like a lot tighter than I thought between everyone," added the McLaren charger.

"I think you still have Red Bull up front, then Aston and Ferrari and then kind of everyone else a little bit after that, so itโ€™s tough.

"I think itโ€™s going be very close, so I look forward to it. I also donโ€™t look forward to it because I would love it to be easier, but it should make for a good weekend in terms of qualifying and also the race on Sunday should be exciting because of it."

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