First last time - McLaren's Lando Norris is completing his final race as an F1 rookie here in Abu Dhabi. Despite a number of setbacks that did not depend on the British driver himself, 2019 has been rather positive to the Woking-based outfit.
An all-new line-up and a different approach boosted the team with the right mindset to put in the effort and work on the car development, as well as on the team restructuring in parallel. Having new additions to the team as team principal Andreas Seidl stood for a breakthrough point for the team, other than "not saying much that made people over confident about McLaren's performance". High expectations turned out to be detrimental to the Woking-based squad, creating false hopes and providing a distorted perception of the progress in the development. Therefore, McLaren decided to go low-profile, a strategy that has been paying off so far.
Regarding his rookie season, Lando Norris described himself as 'very happy' about the results on a whole and conceded that he "wasn't very confident at the beginning", something the media are not used to hearing quite often from the drivers. The Briton later admitted: "If I was still suffering from the same things, I wouldn't be saying it".
Norris' confidence level has been growing throughout the season, as results started proving him wrong about his initial state of mind depending on the pressure of his debut. Numerous faults have been testing his patience on different occasions, but Lando maturely decided to "move on and forget it", since most causes to his underperformance were out of his control.
As for the progress made on the car, Norris pointed out that McLaren improved on "downforce and efficiency" since last year, but conceded: "There is a long way to go before we can start challenging Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull".