For the Singapore weekend, the Woking team brought a raft of new parts which have been fitted only to Norris’s car, and there wasn’t time to prepare enough for Oscar Piastri.
Revised sidepods are the biggest visible change, along with new front and rear wing endplates.
Norris qualified fourth at the Marina Bay track, just 0.286s behind the Ferrari pole winner Carlos Sainz, and followed the Spaniard home in the race to finish second – ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who rounded out the podium positions.
“It’s done everything that it should have done,” said Norris of the upgrades. “Everything kind of worked very well from FP1 already, same as Austria when we bolted everything on.
“It’s done what we expected, worked as expected, and was pretty much good to go from the first runs. So I think that’s a very positive thing. There were some things to tweak, and little things.
“But otherwise, a very good point that it’s just on the car and good to go kind of thing, which is always a positive and reassuring sign for the future.”
Lando Norris, McLaren
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
Norris conceded it was hard to assess the changes having gone from Monza to Singapore and not run the old package this weekend.
“It’s a very different circuit and so on,” he said. “It’s difficult to go yeah it is better here, and better there. It’s just a bit easier to get full throttle and little things.
“It’s hard to know when you don’t back-to-back things and stuff like that. But overall, the way you have to drive the car is the same. You kind of still find the limit.
“So you’re still complaining of the same things and same issues, it’s just you’re probably going a little bit quicker while doing so.
“It had taken a good step forward, which is reassuring for here and the rest of the season. So yes, positive from all of that.”
Norris admitted that when teams are searching for speed, cars are rarely easy to drive.
“I don’t think there’s ever a perfect car,” he said. “I mean, like as Max [Verstappen] has shown, and the struggles they’ve had this weekend, to go from the most consecutive race wins to a struggle.
“I remember Mercedes being similar here a few years ago with dominating, but they just couldn’t get the tyres to work or whatever it was. Maybe Singapore is just the breaking point for everyone that’s doing too well.
“But I think you’re always going to find the limit, no matter if the limits up here or down here. You’re always going to complain of everything. So I don’t think we’re chasing a perfect car. We’re just chasing a car that’s competitive enough from our side to keep up with these guys ahead.
“The main thing is there are characteristics of what I know the car has been like for the last five years. And just things that I always feel a little bit limited by.”