Norris has been one of F1’s star performers in 2021 with two podium finishes to his name, leaving him third in the drivers’ championship ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

Daniel Ricciardo has been vocal in his struggles in adapting to the McLaren MCL35M, but unlike Norris, has struggled to extract performance out of it.

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Norris says he’s had to adjust his driving style significantly for this season.

“This year the car is different, and there are different things on the car,” Norris said. “You have to drive it in a different way. I’m still learning a lot now with every race that we do, about the car. Monaco was the best qualifying that I have done, and I made mistakes in previous qualifyings and races because I have not known enough about the car. I’m still learning a lot of things.

“Especially in Bahrain, for example, in the first couple races of the season, I was driving it too much like last year’s car. And I had to adapt a lot to this year’s car. There are definitely a lot of differences, and it has not been easy going from the last two years to this year. 

“I cannot just drive it the same way and then just be a better driver. I have had to adapt to a lot of different things, and I cannot still this early drive it the way that I want to, as a preference from how I drove in Formula 3 and Formula 4 and things like that. I cannot drive it the way that I want to, so a bit of it is that you have to adapt.”

The long straights of Baku are expected to favour McLaren.

Norris has played down the team’s chances of fighting Mercedes and Red Bull.

“We can be confident and optimistic that we can go well,” Norris added. “I do not think we will be anything extraordinary or unexpected. We have a good car and we have shown that over the first five races of the season…that we have a decent car and most of the tracks. 

“I do not think we can be confident to say that it will be quicker than Mercedes or Red Bull, so we will do our best. We’ll keep our heads down and try to get another result like last week.”