Norris sets sights on besting F1 rival after Bahrain opener

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Lando Norris has faith that McLaren can consistently challenge Mercedes during the upcoming campaign following the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

Norris crossed the line in sixth place, sandwiched between the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes enter the year having concluded last season second in the Constructors’ Championship while McLaren look to continue its strong form that delivered it nine podiums in the second half of the 2023 season.

Norris revealed that he was hopeful over being able to compete against Ferrari but conceded that the Italian squad appears out of reach.

“For our pace to still be very similar to Mercedes is a good thing,” Norris told media including RacingNews365.

“At times we thought we could challenge Ferrari but Carlos [Sainz] showed what Ferrari’s potential was.

“We were close to Mercedes, I don’t think we had any advantage over them. The pace was so similar that as soon as I got into the dirty air, I just didn’t have enough of an advantage to get a chance to overtake, even with DRS.”

Challenging Mercedes

Bahrain has traditionally been a circuit that McLaren has struggled at, leaving Norris confident that the team can consistently challenge Mercedes going forward.

“Maybe after yesterday, I expected a little bit more,” he said. “But when I say a bit more, there’s a big position change, but not a big lap time change.

“One and a half tenths yesterday was four positions.

“Honestly, I didn’t think it would change too much. Maybe I could have been ahead of George but that’s about it.

“So I think where we expect it to be. That’s a good start to the season.

Considering it’s a track we struggle with still, the fact we’re so close to Mercedes is still a good sign for us that some tracks will be able to be ahead.

“I’m confident, the team is doing a good job and that’s a good starting position.”

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