Lando Norris believes George Russell's pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix was far from a surprise as Mercedes "should do well" at the Hungaroring.
Russell clinched his maiden pole position with a sublime lap to depose Ferrari's Carlos Sainz from top spot by 0.044secs, bringing an end to Mercedes' barren spell.
The Briton's efforts stole the thunder from Norris, who made the most of recent McLaren upgrades to qualify fourth on the grid, ahead of both Alpines and Russell's team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
"It was a very good lap - not perfect," explained Norris.
"I had a big snap out of turn five. But I don't think anything that I could have done, even if it was a perfect lap, could have moved me up any higher."
On Russell's lap and Mercedes' performance at Budapest after a seemingly horrendous Friday, Norris added: "George was a surprise, in other ways not. It is a track they should do well at.
"They just had a bad day yesterday so it makes it look like they have done even better and they were bad in qualifying last week.
"All season, they have had a very strong car, they have been close at times and George did a very good job.
"Frustrating because after yesterday I thought we could have had a chance but today they just resumed their normal pace.
"I was very happy, it was still a very strong lap. I could easily have still been behind the two cars [both Mercedes] so not quite as good as at Paul Ricard but almost."
Norris hoping F1's new era fails in Hungary
F1's new regulations for this season were targeted at improving racing action at circuits such as the Hungaroring where downforce is king and following other cars has historically been an issue.
But Norris is hoping that overtaking will not be improved given his lofty standing on the grid for the grand prix.
Asked if overtaking would be improved, Norris replied: "Hopefully, I don't need to do too much tomorrow.
"I don't think there will be many chances to go forward, everyone ahead of me is much quicker.
"[Max] Verstappen behind me, considering George was four-tenths ahead, Lewis is driving the same car so he should be a lot quicker. Verstappen and [Sergio] Perez are much quicker cars.
"It will be a tough race, but I have got Daniel [Ricciardo in ninth] behind me so he will put up a fight.
"But it will be a little bit better than previous years. It won't be as difficult, that is just a fact with these cars but at the same time, I am hoping it is not too much better because it will make our life even more difficult."
Additional reporting by Ian Parkes