Norris impressed by 'smooth' Mercedes switch, 'innovative' McLaren car

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Lando Norris has praised McLaren's "smooth operation" with Mercedes so far following a strong pre-season test in Bahrain.

Of the four teams now using the German engine, only Williams managed more laps across the three days than McLaren, while Aston Martin and Mercedes sat bottom of the mileage charts.

This was a testament to the seemingly seamless installation of the new power unit into the MCL35M despite some restrictions, but also Norris highlighted the working relationship McLaren has built up with the manufacturer.

“I think all together it’s been a smooth operation with Mercedes power so far. I think we’re happy with how things have gone,” the Briton told

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“The bit for me is understanding all the new switches and ways of working that they have, that’s one of the biggest things to get used to, and on the whole, it’s that little step forward in a lot of areas.

“But there are some areas that still need some work, and we’ve been working very closely with them over the last three days because the other teams which are Mercedes-powered have been with Mercedes for a while.

“At the moment it's looking good and we’re happy with how things have gone. So we have to wait until qualifying to really unlock the potential and see what the baby’s got."

While the engine installation was one positive aspect of the new car, also grabbing the attention of many was a unique take on the new diffuser rules for 2021. 

“I didn’t even know that was special, how everyone has been going on about how innovative and different it is to the rest of the teams," Norris admitted.


“From a driver perspective, it’s pretty cool to see the guys and girls coming up with their own ideas and something that’s leading the way in a different way rather than, looking in the past, trying to play catch-up with other teams.

“We are coming together a bit more and things are looking good and going in the right direction.

However, Norris doesn't believe these elements will suddenly put McLaren into the mix with Mercedes and Red Bull this season.

“At the end of the day it’s a very similar car, just a small evolution,” he added. “Throughout the year we’ll continue to try and push it, change it and improve it.

“It’s not loads better, just that small step forward which we hope will make us a bit more competitive. But I’m sure everyone else has taken a step forward too, so we’ll see where we are at.”