Norris thrilled by ‘perfect weekend, apart from Q3’

2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Lando Norris said his performance at Imola had been almost perfect, after recovering from a disappointment in qualifying to finish third.

The McLaren driver lost a potential third place on the grid when he had his quickest lap time deleted for exceeding track limits during Q3. That left him seventh on the grid, but he worked his way forwards to claim a podium finish.

“On the whole I’m very pleased with myself, but [also] the team as well,” said Norris. “I think 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 improved a lot.

“I feel like 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, give myself a good opportunity into Q3 and be pretty close to pole position and then almost P3 and then get down to P7. So 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.”

Norris held second in the closing stages of the race, but was passed by Lewis Hamilton with three laps to go. He said the team’s decision to switch to soft tyres during the Safety Car paid off, despite being unable to keep the Mercedes behind.

“It was tough,” said Norris. “We made the decision to go on the softs. 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 it was, I think, the right decision. Apart from Max’s little moment, I thought Charles [Leclerc] was going to drive ahead of Max on the restart as he was off-track. [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 a decision to go on the softs. I got a good launch, 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 is the last couple of corners, getting the deployment right, using the 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, a Mercedes and Ferraris, things like that. It’s nice to be going up against them so hopefully we can have some of that in the future.”

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2021 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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17 comments on “Norris thrilled by ‘perfect weekend, apart from Q3’”

  1. Both Lando and McLaren have the potential to reach the top step.

  2. Wouldn’t hold it against him. His deleted time was almost more of a misfortune than anything else. He was on pace all weekend.

  3. Does anyone know what happened to him at the start? I think he was around P5-P6 when he reached Tamburello, but in the mist it looked to me like he spun around (or at least I assumed he made a quick 360°), but was still in the top 10 after the corner. I thought he would talk about it in the interview, but no mention here, and I don’t remember seeing it replayed after the start. Could someone with F1TV check his start?

    1. I think the commentary on Sky mentioned he had a punt from Stroll, contact of some kind. But I could be wrong.

    2. As @sjm says,Norris had significant contact with Stroll before they even reached turn 1(F1 TV user, can confirm)

  4. Excellent weekend for Lando, he was really impressive at every weather condition/race situation.

    It’s unfortunate that his best lap got invalided (correctly), as he could have been even higher early on, but this weekend he really did a statement with his driving. DOTW for me as well.

    1. But why was it deleted? Cars were going off track all qualifying session without their times being deleted. Watch the qualifying highlights.

      1. Different corners had different track limits, some corners the limit was the white line other corners it was the Italian flag. Made it a bit confusing but it was the same for everyone

        Reply moderated
  5. Lando has been very impressive. Making Danny look a little ordinary even… should be an interesting tussle for the season.

    1. Super impressive, but then he did a podium season start last year too.

      Like pointed out, who would have thought he would make Ricciardo look ordinary.

    2. I think DR will be on top of the MAC soon. Will be an interesting battle when he gets to grips with the car. Think LN maybe has more outright pace but DRs race craft is second to none.

  6. Nothing related to any on track action but I get the distinct vibe that LN really dislikes Hamilton. Everytime Lewis is mentioned in his interviews he is very quick to move on… the last 2 Drive to Survive series also had a good insight into this. Norris’ little chat with Verstappen today also seemed to be very Lewis centric. Then again… maybe it’s nothing?

    1. You need to stop seeing everything as a slight against Hamilton.

    2. I think its pretty clear he’s just not friends with Hamilton, nothing wrong with that though. They don’t have any professional reason to spend time together and they’re very different in their interests and age. I think he respects Hamilton for his record in the sport but ultimately its his job to beat him whenever he gets a chance.

      I think its very wise for any driver to not get hung up talking about others as you don’t need the hassle of a comment being taken out of context or inadvertently offending others.

      1. No, for sure theres nothing wrong with it. Just wondered if I was the only one that noticed this. Seems not. And David…where and how have I taken this as a slight against Lewis? I’m a Lewis fan so I notice things surrounding him more than I would other drivers but nowhere have I suggested Norris MUST like Lewis and MUST pay homage to him. Will keep my thoughts to myself next time.

  7. I watched Lando’s disallowed qualifying lap on the red button onboard channel, and it was just sublime, particularly the first sector. I was very upset that the main coverage failed to show it, so am very glad Youtube has come to the rescue. Check it out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_srnMBPbN0

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