“He was on it the whole weekend”: Norris impresses former team mate Sainz

2021 F1 season

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Carlos Sainz Jnr praised his former team mate Lando Norris after his podium finish in Sunday’s Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Having left McLaren to join Ferrari this season, Sainz believes the battle is “very tight” between the two teams this year. “Honestly, it is very difficult to pick,” he said.

“I think the McLaren has its strengths and weaknesses. So what makes it like a really nice fight is that we are quick in very different places on the track and it makes it a very fun battle.”

Norris set the third-quickest time in qualifying last weekend, but it was deleted due to a track limits infringement. After starting seventh he climbed to second place, and took the chequered flag third after being passed by Lewis Hamilton with four laps to go.

“It looked like this weekend Lando did a very good job of exploiting the whole car potential,” said Sainz. “He was on it the whole weekend, especially from Saturday onwards. And he did a good race.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Imola, 2021
Sainz had a couple of spins on his way to fifth
A gamble on switching to soft tyres for the final stint of the race helped Norris pass Sainz’s team mate Charles Leclerc before the rubber began to fade.

“They were, in my opinion, on a slower tyre on the soft at the end of the stint,” said Sainz. “You could see they were gaining a little bit. And that’s why we were behind him, pushing him.

“But if he would have been on the medium, I think it would have been very difficult to stay in his DRS because he was very quick all weekend.”

Sainz is hopeful Ferrari will pose a greater threat to McLaren at circuits which suit their SF21 better.

“It is very tight,” he said. “Maybe they had a bit of the upper hand this weekend or they had the upper hand a tiny bit the last two weekends. But as soon as we do a very good weekend and we going to a track that maybe favours us a bit I think we can be ahead.”

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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11 comments on ““He was on it the whole weekend”: Norris impresses former team mate Sainz”

  1. 4 strong drivers. 2 strong teams. 2 strong cars. However, Mclaren’s higher straight-line speed is proving to be a boon as Lando has been able to overtake Charles on track in both the races.

    At Imola, I feel Ferrari was actually faster. Leclerc had a 20 second gap to Norris before the red flag. But Charles’ radio issues and lower top speed contributed to him losing the place to Lando.

    1. I think Norris lost so much time with Ricciardo holding him up that Norris was just driving to pace and not pushing once he built up a huge lead over Ricciardo. It would have been interesting to see if Norris could have stuck with LeClerc though otherwise but he also got hit on the first lap which meant he lost time before he even got to Ricciardo too. I concur though that I think the Ferrari was a marginally faster car that weekend but Norris was able to overturn the car advantage.

  2. Having left Ferrari to join McLaren this season

    it’s the other way around @keithcollantine @dieterrencken

    1. Meanwhile did you notice McLaren Renault in F1 official broadcast, not updated gp schedule at formula1.com?

  3. Soon McLaren and Ferrari will be race winners again.

    1. It certainly looked promising to watch norris in qualifying sometimes challenge mercedes and red bull, they’re getting there, we’ll see if they can make the last step.

  4. Norris or his engineers must have found a sweet spot Saturday morning. He was fast everywhere.

    You just don’t overtake Ricciardo in the same car like he’s a backmarker. Norris wasn’t that dominant over Sainz, so I believe it’s not skills alone. They nailed the car setup.

    Ricciardo will swallow his pride, on his own words, and probably try Norris setup next race as well. If it’s not track or temperature specific, other teams can kiss third place goodbye.

  5. I think Norris has found another level. His confidence driving that Mclaren is just fantastic to watch.
    His defense aganst Hamilton was a beauty.

    1. Yes, just a shame DRS is so OP, mercedes was still faster even without, but norris would’ve definitely held him behind were it not for DRS.

    2. I generally think he is a good defensive driver. There’s a good few races he has driven like that

  6. “I think the McLaren has its strengths and weaknesses. So what makes it like a really nice fight is that we are quick in very different places on the track and it makes it a very fun battle.”

    So Ferrari low-speed, McLaren high-speed corners?

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