Norris: McLaren still wants F2 title focus despite F1 FP1 outings

Lando Norris says McLaren still wants him to focus on his Formula 2 title bid, despite being handed more practice outings in the squad's Formula 1 car

Norris: McLaren still wants F2 title focus despite F1 FP1 outings

The 18-year-old made his F1 weekend debut at Spa in FP1 - heading team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne, who had car problems in the session - and will be out in the McLaren again at Monza, combining F2 and F1 duties for a second weekend in a row.

After a strong drive to second in the Spa F2 sprint race, Carlin driver Norris cut the points deficit to his title rival, Mercedes junior George Russell, to five points.

Norris said winning the F2 title was still important for his future and must be balanced against impressing McLaren for a shot at an F1 seat for 2019.

"I think F2 is just as important," Norris told Autosport.

"I don't just want to be going and not doing well, because McLaren still wants me to do well in F2.

"It's still a nice thing to have on your CV, to say you won Formula 2. I don't want to finish second, so I still do the best I can.

"Whether I need to prioritise one or the other, I will still try to get the best out of both worlds.

"I still think a lot of the priority is on F2.

"There's not a huge amount of preparation I can do for F1 [and] the way of preparing is similar for both up to a point.

"I'd say it's 50/50. I have to do well in both."

Russell, ART with 'work to do'

Russell believes he and his ART Grand Prix team have "some work to do" for Monza this weekend in F2, after describing last weekend's Spa event as "the toughest of the year".

The ART Grand Prix driver took a third and a seventh at Spa - finishing five places behind Norris in the second race.

Russell has four wins to Norris's one in 2018, but the McLaren junior's consistency in the first half of the year - allied to myriad reliability issues for Russell - means the fight will likely go down to the wire with only the Monza, Sochi and Abu Dhabi rounds remaining.

"The whole Spa weekend was the toughest of the year for us," said the 20-year-old, who is in contention for an F1 seat, although it is unclear if one will become vacant for him.

"I don't think it really suited our car or my driving style.

"We've got some work to do at Monza, that's another old-school circuit, but I think we learned a lot [at Spa] and still got a few points on the board.

"But [it's] not good enough if we want to fight for the championship.

"It's not swinging our way at the moment, but we're still leading and I'm still confident we can win this."

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