Lando Norris says it is “hard to know” exactly where certain parts of Formula 1 cars are while battling rivals at close quarters during the early stages of races.

Norris was hit by Daniil Kvyat on the opening lap of the Chinese Grand Prix in a collision that effectively ruined his race, while he also had near-misses at the season-opener in Australia and Bahrain, the latter while pulling off a late overtake on Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly.

Speaking about the start of his rookie F1 season, Norris said he has experienced being on both sides of the “small margins” involved while engaged in wheel-to-wheel combat.

“I’ve been on both sides - it is quite difficult because it’s hard to know exactly where you floor or wing is,” Norris explained.

“There’s so many bits on a car these days it’s hard to know where everything is. You have a bit of an idea but if you are behind someone and you suddenly change direction it’s hard to know exactly where the car is.

“I had a bit of a close call in Australia in Turn 1 with Kimi [Raikkonen], my front wing just clipped his tyre but nothing came of it luckily. I’ve had a few moments but apart from China it’s gone well, I just hope that continues to happen.”

Norris arrives at this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix hoping to add to his early points tally from the opening three rounds. He insists that while McLaren is not setting specific targets, the team views Baku as an opportunity to score a potentially big result due to the unpredictable nature of recent races.

“This weekend as a race there can be more unknowns than in most of the other races, with a chance of worse cars doing well let’s say,” he said.

“We can gain from that, but then so can other people, so we need to make sure that we are in the right position to gain and not let other people overtake us.

“From a confidence point of view, it’s a track where you need confidence to drive, but it’s almost not so much a track where you need confidence going into, because there are so many variables and so many things can happen. In some ways it’s a one-off track.

“Confidence is always a good thing to have going into the weekend. Especially where it’s quite difficult to put the lap together. Driving wise you probably need a bit more confidence here than at other tracks, so I will probably need to lean on it a bit more than usual.

“Of course it would be nice for everybody and myself if we could win but we can still have a personal or a team win if we achieve a target that is effectively a win for us,” he added.

“Maybe the target here is to have an outright win, which maybe slim but is still possible, whereas at other tracks like Bahrain, a win to us was a P6 because we couldn’t have done much better.

“So whatever our maximum potential is, that’s what we can achieve and if we can achieve that, that’s our little win. I’ll still be happy if we do what we know is possible. I’d be even more happy if I won a race but I just know that it’s probably not possible and I don’t dwell on it too much.”

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