‘I wanted to make up for qualifying’ says disappointed Norris after curtailed Belgian GP
Following his dramatic Q3 crash in qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix, Lando Norris was girding himself for an attacking Sunday drive at Spa-Francorchamps – with the British driver revealing his disappointment at not having had the chance to fight his way back into the points in the heavily curtailed race.
Norris displayed exceptional pace in Saturday’s wet qualifying to head both Q1 and Q2, only to then crash heavily at Raidillon in Q3 before he’d had a chance to post a lap – the Briton denied the chance to challenge for what would have been a shock pole position, on a day when his fellow countryman George Russell claimed a sensational P2 for Williams.
Following a medical check-up, Norris was subsequently cleared to race, with the Briton starting the Belgian Grand Prix 15th in his hastily rebuilt MCL35M after a change to his gearbox – with Norris ultimately unable to try and make his way further up the order after the delayed race was red flagged following two laps behind the Safety Car.
And after confirming that he was “all good… and getting better by the minute” following his qualifying crash, Norris added on Sunday evening: “Of course, I would have loved to [have raced under green flag conditions], especially in the rain because we were so quick.
“We could have still had a good chance to score some points at least,” Norris added. “Maybe not to fight for a top position. But of course, a shame for me, a shame for all the fans and everyone who came to watch the race, because they didn’t get to see much.”
Disappointed Norris may have been. But the McLaren driver had no doubts that the decision to curtail the race had been the right one, saying: “I can’t describe how bad [the visibility] is. Everyone’s like, ‘Ah, it doesn’t look that bad.’
“From the outside, sometimes it doesn’t look that bad, but in the car – if there was a car facing the wrong way on the straight or just stopped or something, you wouldn’t see it until you were five metres out or something like that. You can’t even see these flashing lights or anything. It’s so difficult to describe just how bad it is.
“We’re racing drivers,” he added, “we want to come out and race, it’s not like we just wanted to take the day off today – especially me, I wanted to try and make up for [Saturday].
“So I really wanted to just come out and have some fun, do some overtaking and put on a good show. But we also know when it’s just too dangerous and it’s not safe for us to go out and drive. Of course it’s not the nicest decision, but it’s the way it is sometimes.”
One silver lining for McLaren was the fact that they moved ahead of rivals Ferrari to P3 in the constructors’ standings, courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo’s six points, earned after the Australian started and finished the Belgian Grand Prix in P4, for both his best qualifying and race result with the team.