Norris urges McLaren to find 'next level' with MCL36 after Imola podium

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Lando Norris is pushing McLaren to find the "next level" of performance from their car after finishing third for the second straight year at Imola.

The Briton ran fourth for much of last Sunday's race but inherited the final podium place after Charles Leclerc's spin at the Variante Alta while trying to catch Sergio Perez for P2.

It was a result that continued McLaren's impressive turnaround after being one of the slowest teams in the season opener in Bahrain, with Norris being most impressed by how everything came together on Sunday.

“Amazing race, amazing weekend to be honest,” he said.

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“I’m happy. The team deserve it. From where we were in race one to now scoring a podium they all deserve it, so top job to the team.

“I think today and this weekend, it wasn’t necessarily all about the car. I think a lot of it was the teamwork. The pit stop was amazing and just how we executed the weekend, which is what gave us this result.

“With the start, the strategy, the qualifying, judging the tyres and all of this stuff, the smaller things you don’t get to see, it’s what got us this podium today so it’s lovely to see."

For McLaren boss Andreas Seidl, the performances in Australia and Imola have helped reassure the team that their car has the potential they expected.

"It's great to see that we have confirmation now that Melbourne was not just a one-off, but that actually the MCL36 is a good car and a solid foundation for all the further developments that are in the pipeline now," said the German.

"It was great to see on normal conditions really this weekend that we were competitive, and that we were, in the end, the third-fastest team this weekend.

"Of course, scoring a podium in the current situation, one of the two Red Bull and Ferrari cars needs to have an issue because they seem to be a big step ahead in terms of performance, but at the same time, it's not just about performance.

"It's about putting the race weekend together as well, which we did this weekend."

Not only does McLaren have a big gap to the top two, but Norris also believes they shouldn't be complacent about being 'best of the rest' despite his P3 result.

“Me being me, I don’t believe we had the third-best car today behind Red Bull and Ferrari," he claimed, suggesting the "incredibly fast" Alfa Romeo may have had that accolade.

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"The improvements we’ve been bringing are definitely moving us forward, slowly forward, and we definitely need to try and keep that up, but as a package, everything needs to be just that next level, you know?

"It's not easy: you want to focus on everything but over this long season, you have got to focus on certain things first.

"We've not brought anything big. I know there's been big steps but it's not like we've brought a new floor or new things or whatever.

"So, just smaller things. But those smaller things seem to be having an effect when you put them all together on a weekend like this."