F1: Bahrain Grand Prix preview
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Lando Norris expects it to be business as usual at qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix on Saturday. Norris was second-fastest in FP2 on Friday, just 0.095s off Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. However, the Brit is not holding out much hope heading into the weekend.
McLaren driver Norris says he expects Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, as well as Red Bull’s Verstappen and Sergio Perez to lead the way at qualifying.
Hamilton finished third in FP2, Bottas fifth and Perez down in 10th.
“We looked quick today, but I think it’s fairly obvious what’s going to happen tomorrow,” he told Sky Sports.
“It’s going to be the usual front four cars ahead of us.
“Behind, everything’s very close. Even if today we are a little bit ahead, I think it’s because we just showed a bit more.
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“We’ll go in tomorrow and be a little bit more where we should be.
“I feel good in the car, the car does feel good in some areas.
“In some areas also it doesn’t feel that good and we need to improve, and if we can improve it tomorrow, then I’ll be happier.”
Norris admits he is lacking confidence in his own car despite Friday’s impressive performance.
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“I don’t have the confidence that I want, especially in the medium and high speed corners,” he added.
“So corners like turn six, seven. I made a mistake there on my first lap and I had to abort because I turned in and just 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 it’s not necessarily that everything has to be better, there’s just areas to work on.”
Meanwhile, McLaren team-mate Daniel Ricciardo is embarking on his first season with the Woking-based team.
Ricciardo finished FP2 in sixth but also admitted he is not fully comfortable with the car.
“I think the encouraging thing is that we’re second and sixth, and I think still both relatively unhappy,” the Australian said.
“Not to be too pessimistic, but I don’t think we’re yet saying we’re 100 per cent into the car and comfortable and it’s doing everything we want.
“So, yeah, I think we have still got some work to do. But knowing that and we’re still at the pointy end, I guess that’s encouraging.”
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