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Lando Norris Puts McLaren On Top In F1’s First Day Of Pre-Season Testing


Image for article titled Lando Norris Puts McLaren On Top In F1's First Day Of Pre-Season Testing

Image: McLaren

McLaren had a pretty good 2021 season, all things considered. It scored its first race win in years, scored some good points, its financial woes seemed to be behind them, and the team’s driver lineup seemed to gel pretty well throughout the year. The team has been developing the MCL36 for over two years now, so it’s good to finally see the car on track. Hell, it’s good to see any new-era F1 cars on track, because they all look significantly better than the prior generation of regulations. It’s nice to see McLaren back on form, with Lando Norris dropping the fastest time of the day late in the running, but there’s no way to say yet whether any of the teams were actually running at their full potential.

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Obviously none of these teams want to show their hand in pre-season testing, and particularly not on the first day of proceedings. That said, they certainly want to get some solid data from which to develop the rest of the 2022 program. For the most part, it looks like things are largely going to be business as usual around the back of the grid with Alfa Romeo, Williams, and Haas a handful of seconds off the pace. The front half of the grid is a wild jumble of who knows what is going to happen, but at least on day one, it seems McLaren has the pace over Ferrari, while Merceded and Red Bull have fallen off a bit.

Lando Norris on his day behind the wheel:

“I’m really happy to be back behind the wheel. It’s nice to be in the car again and get to push the limit. It’s been good for me to get used to this new car, because I’ve driven the same regulations for my whole F1 career.

“It’s nice to have a change and it was a productive day. We learned a lot of things for the team, and we got all the information we wanted to. We can now compare it back to the simulator and the wind tunnel. A good day, and a good start to this test.”

It’s hard to really take anything away from a testing session, but it’s somewhat telling that Norris not only logged the fastest lap, but was one of the longest runners with 103 laps run on Wednesday. Only Yuki Tsunoda, Fernando Alonso, and Max Verstappen managed to get more laps in during the test, putting down 121, 127, and 147 laps respectively, though each was more than two seconds off Norris’ pace.

The test day was run green from start to finish without so much as a single on-track failure. Norris, while fastest, did come the closest with his car stopping at the end of the pit lane. Both Haas cars had issues that held them to just 32 laps combined with Nikita Mazepin’s car suffering a coolant leak and Mick Schumacher damaged his car’s floor.

Listen, we all want the season to be back on track, so I’m taking whatever morsels of action I can. These little kernels of F1 news are all that’s keeping me sane right now. I’d love to see a big battle between Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, and Red Bull at the front, it’s been decades since there were four legit title contenders. Let’s hope this test is actually something close to what we’ll see in the season, because that would rule.

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