Norris: title might be a long shot for the moment

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Despite his brilliant performances in the last two grands prix, McLaren driver Lando Norris claims that fighting for the championship title might be unrealistic given the gap to the leader Max Verstappen.

McLaren have managed to carry over their impressive form from the second half of the 2023 season for this year, albeit they appeared to be separated from Red Bull by a signifacant gap in the opening races. However, the Woking-based outfit introduced a comprehensive suit of upgrades in Miami which saw the team overtake Ferrari in the pecking order and close in on the field-leading Red Bull.

Even if he was helped by a safety car period in Florida, Norris displayed eye-catching pace to secure his first F1 win, confirming the progress McLaren have achieved with their upgrade package.

The Bristol-born then went on to finish second in last weekend's Imola race, finishing only seven tenths of a second behind race winner Max Verstappen. Norris is now third in the drivers' standings, 54 points behind the reigning world champion.

Speaking of his chances of getting involved in the title fight in the rest of the year, Norris sounded a rather pessimistic note: "At the minute, I think we're still too far behind. I think that's where we pace ourselves in a good amount, and I think I pace myself and the team do, that it was just one weekend.

"And to come here, I mean, Miami, we definitely weren't expecting to be as good as we were, and that was a nice surprise. China, a similar thing. So maybe that's hopefully something we can continue, is that we can be better than we expect at certain races.

"But we're not a mile away. We're talking one or two tenths a lap at this point between being ahead in qualifying and being able to stay ahead in the race versus being behind and just not having what it takes. I don't think at the minute we have the package from the beginning of a race, beginning of every weekend to the end of every weekend. I think we have more work to do.

"I don't think we're on par with Ferrari and with what Red Bull have. But we're getting closer. So I think we needed a couple more of the steps that we had in Miami. And then I think, yes, we can start to talk a little bit more about that kind of thing. But for now, I don't think we have the package from the beginning of the season to the end. But we're catching up," concluded Norris.