Norris endured a lonely race at Istanbul Park, running his own race in seventh.
“It was difficult because of the conditions,” Norris said after the race. “And managing the tires, it will go up and down. The first couple laps feel amazing, then you get the graining and it feels sloppy. And then the tires go to a slick tire so some parts of the track felt really good and at some parts it was dreadful. Towards the end of the stint the tire is a slick tire, and it did not dry out and it was still spitting and then it started to get worse again.
“So really up and down. Difficult to manage well. Easy to make mistakes. Overtaking was nearly impossible. My pace at the end of the race was a lot better than the guys ahead, but as soon as I caught up to them I was two seconds slower because of the dirty air. P7 was the best we could do today.”
Norris admitted that he expected McLaren to struggle but says it needs to understand why going into the final stretch of the season.
“I would not say it is confusing, we need to understand why,” he added. “It is not something that you can change. It is just the car. So we just have to deal with it. At some places it is very good and we need to maximize those.
“Then like today we have to maximize what is a bad result can still be a good one if you maximize it. Today we did that. Gasly was still quite a bit quicker than us, and the cars ahead were also quicker.
McLaren sits 7.5 points clear of Ferrari in the race for third in the constructors’ championship.