Norris ‘didn’t mean to do anything aggressive’ after being shown warning flag when racing with Sainz
Lando Norris admitted he moved twice “which you’re not really allowed to do” when defending from former team mate Carlos Sainz in Barcelona, but insisted it wasn’t his intention to “do anything aggressive”.
Ferrari driver Sainz had stopped three laps previously so was on fresher tyres and quickly caught Norris, lining up a move down the main straight. Norris defended with a late move, something which earned him a black and white flag from the race director, but Sainz still got past with ease for what was eighth at the time.
“I need look at it from above, bird’s eye view and stuff,” said Norris, when asked about the warning flag he was shown. “It was when I was defending from Carlos and I moved over and then I moved again slightly, which you’re not really allowed to do. I didn’t mean to do anything aggressive, I knew he was coming past so it was just the way it is but I didn’t mean anything.”
Sainz admitted it was very close – but had no hard feelings towards Norris, whom he spent the previous two seasons alongside at McLaren, regarding the move having chatted to him after the chequered flag.
"From my side, it was a very close reaction to Norris' movement,” said the Spaniard. “I think I nearly crashed into him, but we talked after the race and it's all good, to be honest, black and white, whatever, I'm good with him.
“Regarding that move, obviously I had a 15-20 lap tyre delta to him, which made overtaking a lot easier than what it was to [Daniel] Ricciardo.”
Ricciardo held off Sainz to finish sixth and that result combined with Norris’ eighth was enough to keep Ferrari at bay for a little longer, McLaren's lead in the fight for P3 now just five points.
Norris is wary of the threat posed by the red cars but is confident McLaren know where they need to make improvements to keep themselves in the fight.
“The Ferraris have been good all year, I don’t know why people underestimate them so much,” he said. “They’re Ferrari and they’ve been one of the quickest cars in terms of cornering all season so when you come to this track, where there’s less long straights and things like we’ve had in Imola and so on, they’re quick. They’ve been quick all season. We knew they would be particularly good here.
“On quali pace, we probably could have matched them even if they had a slightly better car. But in the long run [in the race] when you need a bit more rear and you have to rely on the car a bit more, then we struggled.
"We knew this was going to be the case, we know the weaknesses of the car – and today when you’re struggling more with the rear, that’s when we struggled more too. We have a plan of what we need to still try and improve on. It’s not easy but we do what we can.”