McLaren junior Norris: Carlin winning on F2 return a big achievement

McLaren Formula 1 reserve Lando Norris believes Carlin beating Formula 2 powerhouse Prema Racing after its return from a one-year hiatus was a "big achievement"

McLaren junior Norris: Carlin winning on F2 return a big achievement

Norris took pole position for the feature race and led from start to finish, before following that up with fourth in Sunday's sprint race to take an early lead in the championship.

"To come back and beat Prema, who have been so dominant in the past few years was a pretty big achievement for us," said Norris.

"Not just to beat them, but to have a one-two yesterday [in the feature race].

"I think we've had a very high rate of development from the first practice session.

"It's a big achievement for Carlin, coming back after it had been very strong in F2 [GP2 in 2016] but I wouldn't say as strong as we are now."

Carlin's comeback aligns with the series' switch to a new car, which Norris called a "fortunate" levelling of the field.

The F2 2018 is turbocharged, unlike its GP2/11 predecessor, and features bigger front and rear wings for higher downforce.

"It's a new car so it was a fresh beginning for most teams," added the 18-year-old.

"Some things, parts of the car, were carried over from the previous one so there's one or two things we need to learn if we haven't already."

The McLaren Formula 1 junior and reigning European F3 champion heads the standings by nine points over sprint race winner Artem Markelov, who recovered to the podium from the pitlane in the feature race after stalling on the grid before the formation lap.

Prema, which has run drivers to the past two titles in the category, struggled in Bahrain as its drivers attempted to make their tyres last.

Pre-season title favourite Nyck de Vries, a fellow McLaren junior to Norris, could only manage sixth in race one after a late recovery, while he pitted from the sprint race lead because of high tyre degradation and finished fifth.

Prema opted to copy the strategy it used with 2017 F2 champion Charles Leclerc at the corresponding race last year, although on that occasion Leclerc was able to win the race.

"Of course, I'm disappointed," said de Vries.

"After leading and doing a good job at the beginning, we couldn't turn it into a real result but it was a good day anyway.

"We did what we could and we maximised our points."

De Vries trails Norris by 23 points after just two races.

Carlin leads the team standings by 37 points over Russian Time, and by 45 points over Prema.

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