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Norris: Australian GP "might be as good as it gets for a while"

McLaren's Lando Norris has cautioned that his team's Australian Grand Prix result "might be as good as it gets for a while" due to how well the track suited its Formula 1 car.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36, Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

After running Ferrari close for third in the 2021 championship, McLaren has set several steps back under the new 2022 regulations and only managed to score six points from the first two races.

But while McLaren failed to make it into Q3 in either race, in Melbourne Norris progressed to qualify fourth, with Ricciardo claiming seventh on the grid.

While Norris and Ricciardo were powerless to resist the quicker Mercedes cars during Sunday's 58-lap race, the retirements for Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen allowed them to finish fifth and sixth respectively, bumping the team from eighth to fourth in the standings.

Ricciardo was encouraged by the "mega" result in front of his home fans, but Norris cautioned that it "might be as good as it gets for a while" as the Albert Park circuit appeared to suit the MCL36, which hadn't been substantially changed compared the configuration that failed to deliver in the opening rounds.

"The car has been good from the FP1 and throughout the whole weekend, which is a good thing. It shows that there are still those strengths in the car," Norris said when quizzed by Autosport on how smooth McLaren's weekend went.

"We just need to keep working on the weaknesses, to be honest, if we want to be here more often because not all tracks are as smooth and as quick as this.

"So, I think this might be as good as it gets for a while and we're going to a couple of tracks which might be a bit tougher for us.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"But the team is motivated. I guess a day like today really helps them out and keeps them happy, so a good result for the team."

Norris admitted that he had one eye on trying to catch the Mercedes cars ahead after losing position to them due to a poor start, but conceded that the world champion squad is still too quick for McLaren.

"I guess we wanted to fight the Mercedes a little bit more than we did," he said.

"If I was ahead after turn one without a bad start, they would have passed us at some point in the race anyway, so I don't think we can be too unhappy. I think we have to be happy with the job we did, they just have a much better car.

"We've seen in Bahrain how much quicker they were and the car we have today is basically exactly the same as the car we had in Bahrain. We've not changed too much but it shows we still have a lot of work to do.

"Fifth and sixth is still a great result, I guess it would have been worse if both Ferraris were ahead of us and both Red Bulls. We capitalised on some other failures from others.

"But we still have some good points, so we have to be happy with that."

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