McLaren was in a position to retain its place because the midfield chief from 2020 throughout the opening race weekend in Bahrain final month as Norris completed fourth, solely trailing Mercedes and Crimson Bull automobiles.
However Friday’s observe operating at Imola noticed Ferrari take a giant step ahead in comparison with its exhibiting in Bahrain as Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz completed each periods within the high six.
Sainz ended FP2 because the lead Ferrari in fourth place behind each Mercedes automobiles and the AlphaTauri of Pierre Gasly, with teammate Leclerc simply behind in fifth regardless of a late crash. By comparability, Norris may solely end the day eighth for McLaren, lapping over six-tenths slower than former teammate Sainz.
The leap ahead by Ferrari didn’t come as any shock to Norris, although, who mentioned the indicators of its true tempo have been already obvious in Bahrain.
“In Bahrain they have been undoubtedly faster than us within the majority of corners – not all of them – however right here they appear very fast,” Norris informed Sky Sports activities. “I do not suppose it is one thing we did not anticipate. Possibly they are a bit faster than we anticipated, however we knew some races they’d be forward and a few races we might be forward.
“It is Ferrari, if there’s one crew for the time being that is going to make a giant enchancment someplace it is them.
“So it is not a shock. Possibly that little bit quicker than we anticipated, however not a shock.”
Norris led McLaren’s efforts by way of second observe at Imola as teammate Daniel Ricciardo completed 18th within the FP2 standings.
Norris felt the McLaren MCL35M was not adjusting to the calls for of the Imola observe as swiftly because it did in Bahrain three weeks in the past, saying the crew “have not received the automotive in an incredible place simply but”.
“It isn’t settled right down to this observe as simply because it did to Bahrain,” Norris defined. “It is a little bit bit tougher, nevertheless it’s sort of what we anticipated from what we knew from final yr. We struggled a little bit bit extra right here evaluating to Bahrain too, however just a few tracks the automotive goes higher on.
“This is likely one of the ones we knew was going to be a bit harder for us. However we made some good enhancements from FP1 to FP2 so hopefully into tomorrow we are able to make one other little step.”