Lando Norris said he spoiled McLaren’s chance of a better qualifying position for the Monaco Grand Prix with his crash in Q2.Charles Leclerc on the second, which left him tenth on the grid.
The result marks an improvement from Miami, where Norris lined up 16th, which he said is more a reflection of the track suiting their car, which fares less well on high-speed circuits.
“We’ve obviously come here with a few different little bits to try to improve the car, which have probably moved it in a little bit the right direction,” he said. “We’re talking very small amounts.
“But it’s just a different track. We were decent in Baku, I went to Miami, we were pretty far off the pace and we’ve come back to a street circuit which just suits us more. It’s not like we’ve changed anything on the car and it’s made us much better than where we realistically are, which is still a very long way off.”
He was fifth quickest in second practice yesterday, which Norris says probably flatters the car’s pace. “I think we’ve looked good all weekend, mainly just because I upped the pace very quickly,” he said.
“I felt very comfortable from FP1 already and I think it just takes a few other drivers a bit longer to get up to speed. You wouldn’t say Alpine looked that good until qualifying, especially Q2, Q3. So you have that and even AlphaTauri seemed very good come qualifying too.”
However he suffered a setback in qualifying when he hit a wall at the chicane with his front-left wheel. He then understeered into a barrier at the next corner, Tabac, hitting the barrier with the right-hand side of his car.
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“I think we did a very good job all weekend, the team has done a very good job. I think we’ve maximised what we’ve had until I fucked it all up in qualifying.”
He admitted he wasn’t entirely sure in the car after his quick repair job, but was impressed by how well it held up. “The guys did a good job so I said a big thanks when I came back in,” he said. “It was all good.
“I was surprised the front-right held up, the damage was only on the front-left. But I hit the wall pretty hard in Tabac as well. I questioned it, ‘is everything alright on the front-right?’, and they said yes. I guess I was a little bit nervous. It’s hard to go straight back out and just trust everything’s fine.
“But at the same time once you’ve done the out-lap you’ve just got to go for it, I guess. You kind of maybe take a little risk that everything is together but I trust the guys. They did a good job, they always do a good job. They had some practice from Saudi when I did the same thing.”
However Norris doesn’t believe he would have qualified much higher without the disruption caused by his crash.
“It wouldn’t have changed too much. I don’t think we would have had any special result today, I didn’t think we would have been able to pull out a P5 or P6 kind of thing out of the bag. P8 was probably most likely. Whether it was possible on the last lap with the traffic or the lap before without a little mistake, it was possible.”
Leclerc was given a three-place grid penalty after the stewards ruled he impeded Norris after his team failed to warn him the McLaren was approaching. Norris said he didn’t blame his rival for the incident. “With Charles, the incident, it’s always tough around here, I guess it did ruin my lap,” he said.
“I think he did what he could. But when you listen to the team radio, they were just telling him about Verstappen’s lap, giving him live updates rather than concentrating on who’s behind him, which I don’t really understand, but it is what it is.”
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