Norris says rivals Alpine were quicker in Mexico – but McLaren ‘did a better job’
After a Grand Prix which saw McLaren narrow the gap to rivals Alpine by four points, Lando Norris said he reckoned the French team had the faster car in Mexico, but McLaren did a better job of executing the race weekend.
Norris started the race in eighth but lost out to both Alpines of Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon on the first lap, dropping down to 10th. He maintained that position before switching from the mediums to the hard tyre as he attempted to avoid the undercut from AlphaTauri's Yuki Tsunoda – who changed from the softs to the mediums.
Norris was then able to make his way past Valtteri Bottas for tenth towards the end of the race. Alonso’s retirement saw him gain a place to ninth, after he also let team mate Daniel Ricciardo – on the soft tyre – through to finish seventh, ahead of Ocon.
Speaking after a 14th top-10 finish of the season, a satisfied Norris said: “We did a good job. We had to cover Yuki very early on, on to the hard tyre. That opened up the chance for Daniel to go very long and on to the softs, which gave him the opportunity to finish seventh and score some valuable points for us.
“I think we did a good job, did what we had to do at certain points, but we still looked at the big picture and the other side did a very good job today. I’m happy. Especially on a day like today when reliability was important. Two of our cars finished and not a lot of the others did. Happy with the team.”
With Alonso’s retirement and both McLarens in the top-10 it meant the papaya cars came away with a total of eight points, to Alpine's four – narrowing the gap to the French team's lead in fourth place in the constructors' championship to just seven points, with two races to go.
“Of course, the more points the better," said Norris. "We did a good job. I don’t think we had the quicker cars today than the Alpine but once again as a team we did a better job.”
Norris also praised the work of his team mate Ricciardo, who made his way through the field to finish seventh, as the Briton revealed it was always the plan that one of them would look to go on to the soft tyre at the end of the race.
“I mean Daniel was in a lucky position that he could just stay out and do anything he wanted, which in other races I’ve been able to do, like in Monza and so on,” Norris said.
“And today it just benefitted him. It obviously worked out well. We had that plan from the beginning, if someone was in that position, and Daniel was that guy and so he made up for it and made the most of it. He did a good job.”