Lando Norris says he is struggling with confidence in his McLaren Formula 1 car despite ending the opening day of competitive action in 2021 second in the timesheets.

While Max Verstappen dominated Friday practice in Bahrain, Norris also impressed by following up his P3 in FP1 with P2 in the more representative evening session.

Despite his seemingly strong pace, the Briton was left unhappy with the handling and balance of his MCL35M car and stressed McLaren has plenty of work to do overnight.

“I mean we look quick today but I think it is fairly obviously what’s going to happen tomorrow,” Norris said.

“It’s going to be kind of the usual front four cars ahead of us, behind there it seems very close even if today we’re a little bit ahead. I think it’s because we just showed a bit more, and then we’ll go in tomorrow and there’ll be a little bit more where should be kind of thing.

“I feel good in the car, in some areas, in some areas it doesn’t feel that good and we need to improve and if we can improve it tomorrow I’ll be happier, and that’s our job for tonight.”

Norris said he is wary of reading too much into the times on Friday as he suspects the order could end up looking very different come qualifying on Saturday.

“You never know, we could be a surprise, but the car didn’t feel that good today so kind of I guess a bit promising that if we can improve those things into tomorrow then we can be even better,” he explained.

“Whether we can improve on them is the question because they’re similar things to what we’ve been working on all season and we’ll see if we can come up with anything tomorrow.

“Quietly confident I guess but yeah, although we looked good today I don’t want to get too confident as I don’t think that’s where we’re going to be tomorrow.”

Asked which area needs the most attention heading into qualifying day, Norris replied: “The corners, most corners, not good enough.

“It’s not like one particular place, there’s a few different areas, I’m not going to say of course, but in different scenarios it feels good and in other areas it feels slightly worse.

"A bit of it depends on the wind and weather and temperature, low fuel, high fuel, so different areas we’ve got to work on and that’s what we’ll do tonight.

“I don’t have the confidence that I want, especially on medium and high speed corners, Turn 6-7,” he added.

“I made a mistake on the first lap and had to abort as I completely lost the rear. My confidence in the car isn’t where I want it to be, isn’t where we had it last year, but there’s also improvements in other places compared to last year. So there’s areas to work on and that’s our job.”

 

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