Lando Norris claims that neither he nor McLaren expected to finish on the podium so soon after a disastrous start to the 2022 Formula One season.

McLaren did not collect any points in Bahrain and was relegated to the back of the field, citing fears that it would take time to rectify the MCL36’s flaws. It improved its performance in Saudi Arabia and Australia, with the circuit layouts in both countries suited the car’s relative capabilities.

Norris, on the other hand, qualified third in challenging conditions and finished fifth in Sprint, holding fourth for long of the race until Charles Leclerc’s mistake propelled him into the podium positions.

“Surprised I guess to be here, but feels amazing,” said Lando Norris.

“So, from where we were, what, three weeks ago, four weeks ago, a month, in Bahrain to be on a podium, I genuinely didn’t think we would be on the podium all year after Bahrain… so it’s quite a shock.”

“Maybe not surprising after the kind of progress we’ve made over the last month but yeah definitely not a podium you know, with how much quicker the Red Bulls and the Ferraris are.”

“It’s hard to ever imagine yourself on the podium and a great result would have been P5,” the McLaren driver added.

“But a few good things throughout this race, you know, an amazing start to be ahead of the Ferraris, to stay out of the chaos which happened behind, just I guess a lonely but a great race.”

“Qualifying P3 already was a pretty good achievement for us. So great weekend. Nice to see the improvements we’ve been bringing and to reward everyone with a podium is even better.”

Norris brushed aside allegations that McLaren now has the third-fastest car, citing a clean weekend as the catalyst for the team’s success.

“The Mercedes wasn’t so bad this weekend, I think we were a little quicker than them, probably throughout,” he added.

“The Alfa Romeo was maybe quicker. He was off at the start, I think: quicker [in Sprint], maybe quicker… just couldn’t get past George.”

“It doesn’t really matter, we beat two cars who are probably a second a lap quicker than us: one ended up in the wall and one ended up in the gravel.”

“So doesn’t necessarily mean, if you have the third or fourth or fifth best car. I think we just executed a great race from our side.”

“The car was good, and I had good confidence and that’s all I needed.”

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