Lando Norris not 'getting our hopes up' despite P4 in Italian GP practice

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Lando Norris didn't want to "get our hopes up" despite finishing fourth fastest in practice for the Italian Grand Prix.

At the circuit where McLaren finished one-two last year, the Briton suggested another strong result could be on the cards at Monza as he slotted himself behind the Ferraris and Max Verstappen.

However, Norris warned his lap, set just before a red flag for Mick Schumacher's stricken Haas, showed the team's full hand in terms of performance.

“It was a good lap but this felt like one of my qualifying laps so I didn’t feel like I would have a lot more to bring tomorrow," he explained.

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"We definitely made a few steps forward, it was a decent day, I think. We showed good pace at times, made some good steps from FP1 to FP2 - we changed quite a lot of stuff on the car.

"[But] I don’t want to get our hopes up. I think we’re still quite a way off from where Alpine are, and on the long run we are quite a chunk off.

“Generally our qualifying pace has been there but just [not] the race pace. Just as soon as you have some tyre deg and some tyre wear and whatever the car just becomes quite a handful.

"So a little bit ahead of where we thought we would be in some cases and other cases not.

"Not as competitive as we were in Zandvoort and Budapest, maybe a little bit more in line with Spa."

While Norris does expect to slip back on Saturday, grid penalties for six drivers so far could bolster him back towards the front.

But with four of those drivers sitting in the top three teams, the McLaren driver doesn't expect to benefit on race day.

“I think the cars that are starting at the back are also cars which are generally a lot faster than us - Ferrari, Red Bull. Especially the Red Bulls. After a few laps they’ll be ahead of us anyway," Norris claimed.

"I don’t think it’s made a big difference for us, but if any opportunities arrive because of this, hopefully we’re there to take it.”