Lando Norris says he has had to adjust his driving style from the past two seasons, in order to better suit the new McLaren MCL35M.
2021 appears to be no different, with the young McLaren driver putting on an impressive drive at the season-opening race at Bahrain, which saw him finish in fourth place.
While Norris’ skills have developed from his rookie year across the board, it is his level of aggression both on defence and offense that has seen the most noticeable improvement.
However, while he is starting to look like a more complete racer, Norris feels like he has been “punishing” himself with some aspects of his driving.
“I feel like I’ve had to drive too much like the past couple of years. Especially in qualifying that had negative effects and it isn’t as good,” Norris said. “I did a good job [in qualifying] but I feel like I’m punishing myself with some of the things I’m doing with the car. After understanding some more I felt like I could already put it into practice [in the race] and I felt like I was gaining in those areas that I was losing out on.”
The MCL35M needs to be driven differently
Speaking on the differences between the MCL35M and its predecessor, Norris did acknowledge that the way it needs to be driven is somewhat different than previous years. And while he says new teammate Daniel Ricciardo’s driving style may be more suited to it, he needs to continue improving himself and not just learn from Ricciardo.
“Although Daniel is new to the car there are some differences with the car this year and how you have to drive it,” Norris continued. “At points his driving style is better for it and is more suited for it. How we’ve had to drive the car the last two seasons is kind of going away in a good way. That’s something I need to adjust to a little bit because the car is different this year.
“There’s room for improvement from my side, more in understanding how to drive this car. Not just how to learn from Daniel because I don’t think that’s the point of it, but still focusing on myself in terms of race pace, an area which wasn’t very good a couple of years ago.”