Norris celebrates 'near-perfect' weekend as he recovers from Saturday heartbreak to seal second F1 podium
From rueing an “awful” result in qualifying due to exceeding track limits, Lando Norris enjoyed a complete turnaround as he scored his second career podium in Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Norris was in excellent form on Saturday at Imola but his final attempt in Q3 saw him drift marginally wide at Turn 9 and see his lap time deleted, demoting him from what would have been third on the grid to seventh.
Lewis Hamilton gave Norris words of encouragement over social media on Saturday night, and with rain and multiple incidents leading to a chaotic race at Imola, the pair ended up fighting over second place in the closing laps with the Mercedes coming out on top.
“It was tough!” Norris said. “We made the decision to go on the softs [after the red flag], I wasn’t so confident to get the tyres working and it’s not an easy track to overtake on. Lewis might say otherwise. But I think it was the right decision.
Apart from Q3 it was a pretty perfect weekend I want to say
“Apart from Max [Verstappen]’s little moment, I thought Charles [Leclerc] was going to drive ahead of Max on the restart as he was off-track so he didn’t take advantage of that. But he had a lot of wheelspin on the restart when Max went, and that’s the fault of the mediums and their decision. So we made that decision to go on the softs, I got a good launch, a good restart and got ahead of him.
“I pretty much started saving the tyres from lap one after the restart knowing that the last couple of laps were going to be pretty tough, and they were. Especially with Lewis at the end, a lot of focus in the last couple of corners, getting the deployment right, using your battery in the right way, so I was trying to save up as much as possible. But in the end I didn’t have enough rear tyre out of the last two corners and the chicane to hold him behind, but I tried.
“It was a nice little battle. It’s nice to be racing unusual cars I guess for us - a Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferraris and things like that. It’s nice to be going up against them so hopefully we can have some more of that in the future.”
Now firmly over Saturday’s disappointment, Norris says McLaren can reflect on an impressive weekend where they were regularly fighting at the front in the competitive sessions.
“On the whole I’m very pleased with myself and the team as well. Apart from Q3 it was a pretty perfect weekend I want to say. We improved the car a lot over the first couple of days from Friday into Saturday and through the sessions and so on. We didn’t start on the best foot, but we improve a lot.
“I felt I did a very good job in qualifying, it was the first time I only had to do one run in both Q1 and Q2 so I did good enough laps to save the tyres and give myself a good opportunity into Q3, and be pretty close to pole position, effectively P3 and then get put down to P7. So it was near-perfect from my side and the team’s, I think we did a very good job.
“I was disappointed yesterday so to come back to third today after a pretty eventful race for myself and I’m sure the others as well was rewarding for myself but more importantly the team.”