Norris ended second practice at the Hungaroring in ninth, 1.3s down on Valtteri Bottas’ top time of the day.

The McLaren driver was six-tenths off Alpine’s Esteban Ocon, who enjoyed an impressive session as he ended the day fourth-fastest.

With Alpine and AlphaTauri looking surprisingly strong in practice, Norris says he’s unsure what the true midfield pecking order is.

“No, Alpine were very fast today, AlphaTauri were very fast today,” Norris said. “Ferrari were maybe a little bit slower than we were expecting - I thought they’d be very fast here - so I don’t know. Even we were expecting to be a bit better. 

“The conditions are very different to what they were last year, it was much colder last year, the tarmac was still a bit fresher and newer. It changes, it’s never the same, and we’ll sit down tonight and try to understand why and try to make some improvements because of that.”

Norris has finished in the top five in nine of the opening 10 rounds in 2021, leaving him third in the drivers’ championship ahead of Bottas and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez

He says progressing into Q3 is the priority given how difficult overtaking is at the Hungaroring.

“I reckon it’s been one of our tougher FP2s,” Norris explained. “We’re not amazing normally in FP2 but we never struggle quite as much as this, the gap to Alpine was pretty big. 

“So I think getting into Q3 is the main one, particularly as it’s a very qualifying-dominated track. Tomorrow’s the big day, so we’ll put all of our eggs into it right now.”

With track temperatures over 60 degrees, conditions were tricky for most of the teams as they suffered from overheating.

“Yeah it just doesn’t feel nice to drive,” Norris added. “When you want to put a qualifying lap together you want to feel like you’re really on the limit everywhere and now it feels so easy to be over the limit if that makes sense, as a driver it just doesn’t feel particularly nice. We’ll try to make some more improvements tomorrow and see if we can get anymore lap time out of it.”