Norris says McLaren is not a candidate for pole

Even though Lando Norris surprisingly ended Friday in Hungary in second place, the McLaren driver doesn’t expect to fight for pole position for the Formula 1 round at the Hungaroring on Saturday. Norris was just 0.2127 seconds behind leader Charles Leclerc in the second practice session in Budapest.

But that is probably mainly due to the fact that McLaren is driving with a slightly higher engine setting than the competition on Friday. “It feels good and the car is in a good position,” said Norris, but when asked if he was a candidate for pole position, he replied: “No.”

“The car certainly seems to suit the track characteristics a little better, but in the second practice session we’re always a bit quicker than where we usually end up,” says the Briton. “We turn it up a bit more to get a first feeling for qualifying. And that’s exactly what we got today.”

“But we also know that everyone else – and especially Ferrari, Red Bull and Mercedes – will make significant gains again tomorrow.” Nevertheless, the car is “in a reasonable position” and “probably a little better than in Paul Ricard”. That is also the goal for the weekend: to be better than in France, where Norris finished seventh in the race.

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo also had a strong Friday, finishing fifth, 0.427s off Leclerc. He is also happy about the competitive training, but also rules out the fight for pole: “I don’t think we’re competitive enough for pole – sorry to the fans,” he says. “I’m not pessimistic, just realistic.”

At the same time, he has no reason to say that Saturday will not be a battle for top positions. “But it’s only been a week since Le Castellet and there’s not much you can do about it. Maybe the track suits us a little better. I’m sure we’ve made a step, but it probably wasn’t a big one.”

For Ricciardo, even making it into Q3 would actually be a success, because he’s only managed it once in the past six races.

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