Norris: McLaren ‘needs to get used’ to challenging Red Bull

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Lando Norris believes McLaren still needs to shift its mindset from being a top midfield contender to becoming a consistent front-runner and Red Bull challenger.

Saturday’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix qualifying saw the Woking-based outfit land a strong double top-three finish, with Oscar Piastri snatching second place and Lando Norris clocking in right behind in third.

While both drivers fell just short of dethroning championship leader Max Verstappen for pole position, they were within a hair's breadth, showcasing McLaren's impressive pace.

Following his victory in Miami and another close fight with Verstappen in Imola, Norris acknowledges that the team needs to adjust to the reality of regularly challenging Red Bull.

"We still need to get used to it, but we're getting closer, and to be able to say we're ahead of Ferrari is a nice result," Norris said.

"I mean P3 is not a bad job at all, and both of us were within a tenth for P1, so tiny, tiny margins, but I think for us as a team, we had a very good day.

"We've had a very good weekend so far, Oscar has done a great job and so has Max, so it is exciting we are close and I can't wait [for the race]."

Looking ahead to Sunday’s event, Norris believed on Friday that Ferrari would be the team to give McLaren a run for its money. But Verstappen’ sudden performance turnaround has altered the Briton’s outlook.

"It is going to be close, it is going to be a good race, and hopefully an exciting one to watch," he said.

"It will be an exciting one in the car, but tough especially when the lap-times are so tight. A lot of it is down to Turn 1, lap 1, the strategy and the pit-stops so it is going to be tough."

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