McLaren’s Lando Norris says he is “a lot more confident” in his driving abilities heading into 2020 compared to his rookie Formula 1 season.

The 20-year-old enjoyed a strong debut F1 campaign and helped McLaren secure fourth spot in the constructors’ championship, while he finished 11th in the drivers’ standings after scoring 49 points. Norris managed 47 fewer points than teammate Carlos Sainz but out-qualified the Spaniard 11-10 across 21 rounds.

Norris conceded he had initial doubts about whether he would be good enough upon his F1 graduation after just a year in Formula 2 but the Briton insisted he is much more confident about his abilities heading into his sophomore season.

Speaking during a fan Q&A session at Autosport International, Norris said: “I want to say I’m more confident in my own driving, because it’s my second year in Formula 1, so I feel now a lot more confident.

“But also the team I think have done a very good job, working on particularly the areas that we were not good in last year, that we were quite weak in, which is almost every corner.

“It’s trying to work on those areas, and from the results that I’ve seen, it’s looking positive. It’s going in the right direction, but we still need more to be really competitive.

“Compared to what I was last year, if you asked me that question, I can definitely say now that I am much more confident, but I can’t say that we’re going to be on the podium or wherever.

“I want to say we’re top 10, for sure, but anything more than that, I can’t really say.”

Despite McLaren’s impressive rate of progress throughout 2019, Norris has stressed he does not want to “overhype anything”.

“I’m confident, and I want to say the guys have done such a good job over the winter to improve the car as much as possible,” Norris explained.

“I’m not going to say we’re going to be winning races this season. I would love to, but I don’t want to overhype anything. I think we’ve got to be realistic.

“We’ve got to be saying we want to take a step forward. I think we can be confident in saying that, but how big of a step is unknown comparing to the other teams.

“We’ll be trying as hard as we can to keep moving forward, keep taking these steps in the right direction. But it’s winter, no-one knows.

“In 2018, we were going into 2019 and we knew the car was going to be better. We knew the car was looking good in the wind tunnel and so on.

“But then when we went to Barcelona, it was better than what we thought as a team. So I’m hoping it’s going to be like that this season.

“The car’s looking a bit better. So hopefully when we go to Barcelona and we do our first test, it’s just going to be amazing.”