Lando Norris admits he is reluctant to be drawn on discussing McLaren’s chances in Las Vegas, having been surprised by the team’s competitiveness in recent rounds.
Formula 1 is embarking upon its inaugural visit to the Las Vegas Strip Circuit this weekend for the first round of a doubleheader to conclude the season.
Norris enters the third and final event in the United States of 2023 having recorded five podium finishes in the past six rounds to rise to fifth place in the Drivers’ Championship.
While it began the year struggling to score points, McLaren has become a regular front-running contender since introducing a revised car in Austria in July. More upgrades to its MCL60 in Singapore further cemented its status as Red Bull’s closest challenger.
Although Norris expected the Woking squad to be on the back foot in Brazil, the Briton bagged pole position for the Sprint race and comfortably ended the grand prix in second.
However, Norris, asserts that he has abandoned trying to anticipate McLaren’s pace heading into a given race weekend.
Asked in Brazil if he predicted McLaren to fare well in Las Vegas, Norris said: “No idea. I mean, I don’t think we were expecting to be as competitive here as we have been. So we’re still surprising ourselves.
I gave up on guessing where we’re going to be nowadays. I mean, probably after Bahrain I didn’t want to think of where we’re going to be. But yeah, it comes and goes, you know.
“I think everyone expected Mercedes to be extremely strong this weekend [Brazil] and they were nowhere. [Everyone] expected Ferrari to be a bit more competitive and weren’t, so I think no one really knows. Everyone just guesses and presumes but no one knows until we just get on track. So just let’s wait and see.”
Despite the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas event set to partially dominate the headlines during the weekend, Norris insists that his priority remains on the driving side.
“I just want to do the driving, and that’s why I’m here,” he added. “I’m not here to do all the interviews and enjoy all of this stuff.
“I love Formula 1 because I love to drive and compete against these guys and race and do all of that stuff. And even since I’ve started, the media has risen a lot more, but in the business world, it probably makes sense because there’s more money and all of those things, and that’s normally how it works. But as drivers, it’s not the thing that we enjoy too much of, but some perks of it, I guess.”