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I'd rather be the last than the first!

I’d rather be the last than the first!

( – Lando Norris has set the best time on the first day of official Formula 1 testing for 2022 in Barcelona, ​​but says he would have preferred to finish last over first because he fears it’s beyond McLaren’s expectations now. become unrealistically high.

Lando Norris in a McLaren MCL36 on day one of Barcelona 2022 Winter Test


Norris set a best time of 1 minute 19,568 seconds in the afternoon on Pirelli C4 tires, a softer rubber compound than most of his live drivers, more than half a second faster than Charles Leclerc in his Ferrari F1-75.

But for the Briton, who was able to complete 103 laps in his new McLaren MCL36, the focus was on gathering valuable data for further development: “It’s still too early to say anything,” he explains. “Now that I was at the start everyone thinks we’re going to win the first race.” But: “No chance!”

“I think we’ve made good improvements from early in the morning, but it’s only the first day of the season. Even if we’re doing well now, everything could be different until the first race. And the pace of teams development is very high in the first half of the season.”

Norris: A different schedule than the other teams

“I didn’t want to be the first,” Norris says. “I would have preferred to be last because expectations are so high now and everyone thinks we’re incredibly cool. I think we have a slightly different schedule than the others. We’ll see in the next few days. I think some will drive a lot faster than this time.”

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After all, the 22-year-old admits he “felt comfortable very quickly” in his new car because generation F1 cars generate greater communication pressure via the keyword “ground effect”.

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“I was imagining it would be worse, and getting used to it would be a lot more complicated. But the driving is generally the same. That’s fine, because that’s how I settled down quickly and got comfortable very quickly. I think I managed it quite well.”

“Of course you can talk a lot about how different the car is now. But when I got in, I thought: ‘Hey, it wasn’t any different than last year.'” “I think it’s overrated because everyone expects everything to be completely different,” Norris said.

Small technical problem in the afternoon

However, the first day of testing did not go very smoothly. In the afternoon, the McLaren driver raced once at the end of the pit lane. Apparently, the emergency program has been activated and turned off in the drive. The mechanics returned the car to the garage, and within minutes Norris was able to resume his program.

“It could have been a good few more laps. We were planning on it, but we had some problems here and there. But we learned a lot and it was an important day in spite of everything. Mainly because of the new rules. Important for the next two, three or four months.” – And maybe even then.”

“It’s important that we understand everything now, so we took our time,” Norris says. “It was a good start to the tests. We are now in good shape for the next days of testing.”

By the way: The analysis of the first day of the test is now available live on Wednesday evening on YouTube channel. In order not to miss the next live broadcast of the winter tests, it is better to subscribe to the channel for free and activate the bell to get to know the latest live broadcasts and videos by notification.