Lando Norris is not optimistic about his chances of keeping Lewis Hamilton behind him in the Turkish Grand Prix as the Mercedes looks to rise through the field.
Hamilton was the fastest qualifier around Istanbul Park on Saturday in a frantic session which threatened changeable conditions, with Norris left disappointed by qualifying eighth fastest in his McLaren – having been on pole last time out in Russia.
However, the reigning World Champion will take a 10-place penalty which will put him down to P11 when the race starts, as Mercedes changed his internal combustion engine heading into the weekend.
While Norris will now start ahead of his compatriot in Turkey, he does not hold out hope it will stay that way.
“You’ll get a little bump up [the grid],” Natalie Pinkham said to an underwhelmed Norris when they spoke to each other on Sky Sports F1 after qualifying.
“But probably not for long anyway,” came the retort from the McLaren driver. “Because he’ll [Hamilton] be past me in a couple of laps.
“Well, I’m just realistic,” he added with a smile. “I’m not going to say I’m going to beat him because I’m not. I’m just not a dreamer.”
— Lando Norris (@LandoNorris) October 9, 2021
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While Norris managed to get inside the top 10, it was a difficult day all round for McLaren. Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was caught out by seemingly going out too early for his final lap on an improving track in Q1, which meant he was knocked out in the first part of qualifying, leaving him with a tough job to do to recover.
Given how fast McLaren have been since the summer break in particular, Norris was left visibly deflated after not being able to repeat their speed shown in Italy and Russia.
“A tough day. We were just not quick enough really,” he said. “Not too many things to say, I think. I thought yesterday maybe we had a bit more pace in the bag.
“The car was not easy, but we made some changes overnight which we thought would be good for the car and we had a little bit more to unlock, but it seems like the others had even more to unlock than we did.
“So not a lot [to say]. I think P8 was the best job we could do today. It doesn’t sound very good or feel good, but I have to be happy with that.”
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