Despite a disastrous Bahrain Grand Prix which saw neither McLaren finish the race, Lando Norris believes the car showed enough to be “optimistic” about the rest of the season.
Norris said the issue that meant he had to pit every 10 laps for an air top-up into the system – later confirmed to be a hydraulics leak – started at the first corner
In a race dominated from lights-to-flag by the Red Bull of back-to-back world champion Max Verstappen, Norris would make six pit stops throughout the race, before the team finally retired the car two laps from home.
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McLaren team principal Andreas Stella would also later confirm it was damage to the electrical system that would end Oscar Piastri‘s day.
After pulling into the pits, the team swapped steering wheels on Piastri’s car, which failed to rectify the issue.
“We saw the electronic damage is further down the line around the steering column,” Stella said.
“So the steering wheel wasn’t the problem. It was a problem with the harness, probably, we are investigating. Not fixable in a short time.”
Norris said despite running the race well off the back of the field, the McLaren still showed “OK-ish pace” that was good enough to score points.
The young Brit last year finished a strong 7th in Saudi Arabia after an equally-disappointing Bahrain Grand Prix. He’s confident of another top-10 this year.
“I think we’ve scored points in the past in Jeddah and there’s no reason we couldn’t have scored points (in Bahrain) and that continues,” he said.
“We obviously still believe we can still score points with the car we have which makes us more optimistic for the season.
“Like I said, we should have scored points. I don’t know what Oscar had, if it was the same thing. We didn’t see anything in testing.
“I don’t know the ins and outs and what happened but it’s not as bad as everyone expected before the season. It’s not as bad as everyone was expecting. Like I said we should have scored points, simple as that.”
When he last raced in Jeddah in F2 in 2021, Piastri took pole and a feature race win. He also finished 8th in the reverse top-10 sprint race.
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