Norris says racecraft his biggest improvement of 2020
Lando Norris found it an awkward task to evaluate his biggest improvement of the 2020 season, but the young McLaren driver eventually concluded that he spent “a lot of time” improving the details of his racecraft.
The 21-year-old, who is currently self-isolating in Dubai having recently tested positive for Covid-19, was asked how he maximised the potential of his competitive McLaren MCL35 ahead of last year’s penultimate Grand Prix.
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Norris replied: “The race is one of the areas I did work on the most over the winter because I realised it was one of my bigger weaknesses [in 2019]. It’s something I spent a lot of time on digging into all the details, because there’s a lot of things that happen in the race that come together to make a good race; it's not just… singular things.
“So it’s something I put a lot of focus on and time into and it’s something throughout this year I’ve definitely been much stronger in but there’s still more areas for me to improve and to continue to get better at.”
That work seems to have paid off as Norris not only clinched a maiden podium in 2020 (in the opening round) but finished just one point behind Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the standings in P9.
He continued: “So I can say with a lot more confidence this year that I’m doing a better job in the races, extracting more out of the car and being in positions I can be. Because I quite easily could not have been fourth [in the Bahrain Grand Prix] and I quite easily could have crashed… at the start and been out of the race early on.
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“I’m making better decisions, touch wood; they’re paying off and allowing for much better results come the end of the day.”
McLaren finished a stellar third in 2020 but this season will see them compete with Mercedes power on board, and the experience of ex-Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo alongside Norris.