Norris: Latest-spec McLaren quicker but 'same issues' remain


Lando Norris says there's no denying the step-up in performance enjoyed by McLaren in Singapore thanks to its latest upgrade, but the Briton admits the car has retained its same intricate handling issues.

McLaren brough in its crates at Marina Bay a raft of new elements for its MCL60, with the team registering nine alterations, all of which were aerodynamic in nature.

The changes included new front wing endplates, sidepod inlets, a new halo, floor body, coke/engine cover, a new rear corner and rear suspension, rear wing endplate and a new circuit-specific beam wing.

In qualifying, Norris made good use of modification, the 23-year-old clocking fourth just 0.286s adrift from Ferrari poleman Carlos Sainz.

On race day, the McLaren driver capitalized on his car's progress as he claimed the runner-spot behind Sainz after a thrilling finale that also included Mercedes' drivers.

"It's done everything that it should have done," said Norris of the upgrades, quoted by

"Everything kind of worked very well from FP1 already, same as Austria when we bolted everything on.

"It's done what we expected, worked as expected, and was pretty much good to go from the first runs. So I think that's a very positive thing. There were some things to tweak, and little things.

"But otherwise, a very good point that it's just on the car and good to go kind of thing, which is always a positive and reassuring sign for the future."

Norris said that it was hard to make an accurate compare between McLaren's latest-spec car and the older package, with no back-to-back comparisons on offer.

But while the car was undeniably quicker, it also retained some core handling characteristics that have frustrated Norris.

"It's a very different circuit and so on," he explained. "It's difficult to go 'yeah it is better here, and better there'. It's just a bit easier to get full throttle and little things.

"It's hard to know when you don't back-to-back things and stuff like that. But overall, the way you have to drive the car is the same. You kind of still find the limit.

"So you're still complaining of the same things and same issues, it's just you're probably going a little bit quicker while doing so.

"And for sure it has taken a good step forward, which is reassuring for here and the rest of the season. So yes, positive from all of that."

Norris suggested that regardless of the changes, there would always be small details or areas for him to complain about as no car is perfect.

"I don't think there's ever a perfect car," he said. "I mean, like as Max [Verstappen] has shown, and the struggles they've had this weekend, to go from the most consecutive race wins to a struggle.

"I remember Mercedes being similar here a few years ago with dominating, but they just couldn't get the tyres to work or whatever it was. Maybe Singapore is just the breaking point for everyone that's doing too well.

"But I think you're always going to find the limit, no matter if the limits up here or down here. You're always going to complain of everything. So I don't think we're chasing a perfect car. We're just chasing a car that's competitive enough from our side to keep up with these guys ahead.

"The main thing is there are characteristics of what I know the car has been like for the last five years. And just things that I always feel a little bit limited by."

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