Norris: There's no area the new McLaren can match Mercedes

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Lando Norris admits he is slightly underwhelmed by the new McLaren, claiming there's no area where it would be a match for Mercedes.

The Woking-based team has had a subdued pre-season so far, as they've yet to push the performance of the MCL35, and signs are their place at the front of the midfield is very much under threat from teams like Renault and Racing Point.

Of course, that could all change when McLaren do up the pace either on the final day or in Australia, but Norris was expecting more from his new ride.

“I’m happy with how it’s improved compared to last year in some areas, but in some areas, it’s not moved on as much as what I would have liked," the Briton was quoted by RaceFans.

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“Areas it’s not good at, comparing to Mercedes who are fastest, probably everything. I don’t think there’s any area where we’re as competitive as Mercedes.

"So if I want to be that harsh I can say it’s not good enough in any area, but in terms of progress made, which is not easy to do in Formula 1, I’m happy.

“Of course I’m not going to say [which] areas but in terms of consistency of the car from one lap to another, when the wind’s not terrible. Being able to push on the car in the long runs, the car’s just been nicer to drive. It’s less on edge, less peaky, let’s say," he explained.

“It’s a bit more stable and consistent through all the laps you do so you’re still pushing and the limit still moves up and you’re driving on that limit so the car’s still going to be sliding and moving around and so on.

"But the main thing is an easy way to say it’s just more consistent and nicer to drive.”

As for teammate Carlos Sainz, he does believe McLaren will let the leash off their car a bit on Friday as all teams complete some performance runs.

“Tomorrow we will definitely go for a fast lap,” the Spaniard said. “Everyone will see what the car has by the end of the test days.

“So, in the end, we will see fast times tomorrow, but probably there will still be teams that don’t show everything, it is also possible that teams turn down engines.

“Eventually, all teams will probably ride the C4 or C5 tyre tomorrow, so we will see fast times tomorrow.”