Lando Norris, McLaren, Silverstone, 2023

Norris “brought the fight to Max for as long as possible” after leading British GP

2023 British Grand Prix

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Lando Norris says he put up as much of a fight as he could against Max Verstappen after taking the lead from his rival in the British Grand Prix.

The McLaren driver shared the front row of the grid with pole-winner Verstappen and beat him to the first corner. He held the lead for five laps until Verstappen drew within DRS range and passed him on the inside approaching Brooklands.

From there Verstappen was able to pull away, but the appearance of the Safety Car later in the race gave Norris a chance to close back in. He urged his team to fit the soft tyres during his only pit stop, but was given hards, while Verstappen ahead and Lewis Hamilton behind the McLaren both took the soft rubber.

Norris resisted an attack from Hamilton at the restart, then drew clear of the Mercedes in the final laps. He took the chequered flag 3.7 seconds behind Verstappen and finished on the podium in his home race for the first time.

“It’s pretty insane,” said Norris after the race, praising his team for the progress they have made since introducing a significant aerodynamic upgrade to his car at the previous race.

“I just want to say a big thanks first of all to the whole team, they’ve done an amazing job. None of this would be possible without the hard work they’ve been putting in. Pretty amazing, pretty insane to put up a fight.”

He made light of the team’s decision to go against his tyre preference when he pitted. “They put me on hard tyres, I don’t know why, they still are beginners in some things,” said Norris.

“I think they just wanted to give me a bit more of a test, I guess,” he added. “That’s what Zak [Brown, Mclaren Racing CEO] said, anyway. Maybe Zak called the shots on that one.

“I wanted the softs, I feel like it made a bit more sense, especially with the Safety Car coming out. But I don’t care, I’m P2, it’s all good.”

He admitted his final stint wasn’t flawless as he came under pressure from Hamilton. “It was an amazing fight with Lewis to hold him off,” said Norris. “I made a few too many mistakes maybe, but I did what I could.

“I brought the fight to Max for as long as possible. It’s a long, lonely race when you’re just in the middle. But it’s amazing.”

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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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13 comments on “Norris “brought the fight to Max for as long as possible” after leading British GP”

  1. He was always going to get repassed eventually anyway, so I wasn’t overly excited about him taking the lead early on.

    1. Ahead of the race I really expected the McLarens would quickly drop back from Max and gradually filter down to maybe P4-8 range, but they seem to have actually made genuine step up.
      I was therefore positively surprised Max had to then wait until DRS came into it @jerejj, but I guess here that DRS really was key to the speed for Red Bull, not their strongest track it seems from the margins both in qualifying and the race.

      1. @bascb & even with DRS, he only got passed after a few attempts.

        1. Yeah, that’s true. Even with DRS it was not an easy pass like we’ve seen all too many so far this year for Verstappen. That was good to see.

    2. To me, Oscar looked quicker than Norris from the drop of the flag!

  2. I expected him to put more of a fight.

    Max later said Lando was really nice not trying to fight him too much. What the hell of a compliment is that?

    1. I would have liked more of a fight as well, but McLaren’s target was clearly P2, and who can blame them?

      1. Yeah, Norris did try to come back to Max right away, but it was clear that Max was just too quick with DRS to fight it. At that moment it made more sense to just race his own race, doing a good job of staying within DRS for many laps to get as much of a buffer to the cars behind them.

        I was actually thinking Max might be somewhat holding back to keep those McLarens in his DRS as his own buffer against both Ferrari and Mercedes.

      2. Max was not their fight and Lando knew it. Useless to destroy your tyres against a car you lose to anyway, just so that you can’t defend against the cars behind you anymore.

  3. I was more interested in the mistake Oscar Piastri made.
    If he had stayed left at the start, Verstappen would have been running third at the first corner.
    How long Oscar could have kept him there is a big question, and how much lead Lando would have had out of that another.

    1. He may have been winging it, just a little… a bunch of F2 races, in the distant past thanks to Alpine, probably didn’t fully prepare him for this.

    2. I was thinking the same, but it’s so easy make that kind of comments from your sofa after the race.

  4. I think the key to Norris staying ahead of Verstappen after such a mighty start would have been if Max had needed to go on the defensive to keep Piastri behind. He wouldn’t have been able to close on Norris in that scenario.

    But Max and the Red Bull are still just that little bit too good, though it’s clear McLaren have achieved an incredible breakthrough in aero with their new car.

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