Lando Norris may have set the fourth fastest time on day one at Monza, but the McLaren driver was not getting ahead of himself and insisted that he and the team hoped his performance would be more in line with Spa, where both cars they finished out of the top 10.
Norris enjoyed a positive second practice session at Monza, moving up to P4 with a time that was 0.674 seconds behind the effort of Carlos Sainz and ahead of Mercedes and Sergio Pérez. However, the Briton still said he expected McLaren to be behind their rivals in the Alpine midfield on Sunday afternoon.
FP2: Sainz leads Verstappen and Leclerc in the second Monza practice session
“Best lap of my life today,” Norris joked. “I think it was a decent day, we showed good pace at times, we made some good steps from FP1 to FP2; We changed quite a few things on the car. I don’t want to get our hopes up, I think we are still quite far from where Alpine is, but in the long run we are quite far.
“Some positives here and there, but as we expected I think this weekend will be a bit more competitive, not as competitive as Zandvoort and Budapest and maybe a bit more in line with Spa. We will keep working and see what else we can bring for tomorrow.”
Norris cautious about McLaren’s chances at Monza, wary of Alpine threat
Despite some drivers including Carlos Sainz, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton receiving grid penalties on Sunday, Norris said his expectations for Sunday’s race remained largely unchanged.
“I think the cars that are starting in the back [with grid penalties] There are also cars that are generally much faster than us. Ferrari, Red Bull, especially the Red Bulls, after a few laps they will be ahead of us anyway. I don’t think it’s made a huge difference for us, but if any opportunities come up because of this, I hope we’ll be there to take advantage of them.”
READ MORE: Horner explains Red Bull’s engine penalties at Monza as Verstappen says he’s ‘not worried’ about Ferrari’s pace
Also asked about the prospect of fighting faster cars in McLaren’s mirrors was Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, who said: “I’ll do my best.” [to hold them up]; I did it last year. It’s fun that you can follow more closely this year, but it still affects you and the slipstream isn’t that big.
“Some tracks have proven to be better for overtaking with this style of car, and some have not. I don’t know. I don’t think it will be very easy, they will still have to work to achieve it, the fastest cars will come and [we will] try to get a good trailer in qualifying somehow and skip a few more places.”
Daniel Ricciardo ‘more lively than not’ after FP2 at Monza
Ricciardo set the 11th fastest time in FP2 but was 10th in the first practice session and the Australian, who won the Italian Grand Prix last year, pointed out the areas where he thinks the MCL36 differs from the winning machinery. racing last season.
READ MORE: Porsche says F1 remains “an attractive environment” after scrapping partnership with Red Bull
“Last year we had good straight line speed, but I think in the third sector we were fast, the fast Ascari and Parabolica chicane, just throwing the car. I don’t think we have the same strength this year.
“I don’t think we’re a step above on some of the high-speed stuff, so I think that’s where we probably don’t have what we had. It’s probably a little everywhere, but maybe we’re not as far apart as we thought. So, I’m more excited than not.”