Norris admits he laughed at how badly Verstappen’s car handled in Singapore

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull’s rivals expect their surprisingly poor showing in this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix will prove to be a one-off.

The team which had won every race this season prior to this weekend could only manage fifth and eight places for Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez respectively in today’s race.

Both Red Bull drivers failed to qualify inside the top ten on Saturday. Lando Norris, who finished second in the race, said he was astonished how poorly the Red Bull cars appeared to handle in qualifying.

“I don’t know what they struggled with this weekend,” he said. “When I watched [Verstappen’s] onboard yesterday I kind of laughed because I’ve never seen a car that bad before.

“Max also laughed about it, so we’ll see next weekend. I think they’ll probably be back at the top.”

Over the season so far several teams have taken turns being the closest rivals to Red Bull. Norris said it would be a much more competitive championship if Red Bull weren’t consistently so far ahead.

“If Red Bull weren’t here I would have had two race wins already,” he said. “I think there’s always been great battles.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“Sometimes it’s that ‘best of the rest pack’. Now the ‘best of the rest’ is, I wouldn’t say it’s just us, I don’t think Aston are far behind and they were, at the beginning of the season very close, but they’ve dropped off. AlphaTauri were very quick this weekend, just didn’t put it together when they needed to.

“So I think it’s great. Often if you didn’t have the best team there, the best team always seems to kind of dominate and take away the show from the rest of it. But often if you take away Mercedes a few years ago and you take away Red Bull now, the battles for the rest of the positions always I think would have been incredible and many different winners every race or every season.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who became the first driver from outside Red Bull to win a race this year, said he “wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still winning the last few races of the season.”

“I think Singapore gave us the chance and we used it well,” Sainz continued, “but I still think that Red Bull is going to be up there in the remainder of the season and they’re going to be very, very, very, very difficult to beat.”

Sainz believes Red Bull’s closest rivals only need to find a modest amount of lap time to regularly fight them for wins.

“I just think it’s great for F1 if Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston, we would be that two, three tenths quicker every race to challenge them in race pace,” he said. “I think the racing this year would be incredible and it would be eight drivers fighting for wins, a bit like we saw today with four, five guys out there fighting for a win around a street track.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

“So it just shows the potential F1 has to create an incredible show. But it’s true that if Red Bull have nailed the car this year and they’re doing such an amazing job they deserve to win everything that they’re winning.”

However Lewis Hamilton, who finished third today, suspects Red Bull have ploughed their development efforts into next year’s car having begun this season so far ahead of the competition.

“I wasn’t really watching much of others this weekend, so I don’t really know why they’re off pace-wise,” he said. “But I think it’s great to see that others are with them. The McLarens have picked up a huge amount of pace, it’s great to see that Ferrari have really stepped it up and I think it’s a positive.

“But I think probably if you think about it, they haven’t been developing. Obviously McLaren brought an upgrade here – others are bringing upgrades, they’re working on next year’s car. They have less wind tunnel time so they’re probably using some of this year’s onto next year’s, they would have definitely migrated before us.

“So no, I just think it’s one of those things. They’re so clear ahead that maybe they’re developing their car less and we are still pushing to develop our current one, but time will tell.”

Bringing the F1 news from the source

RaceFans strives to bring its readers news directly from the key players in Formula 1. We are able to do this thanks in part to the generous backing of our RaceFans Supporters.

By contributing 1 per month or 12 per year (or the equivalent in other currencies) you can help cover the costs involved in producing original journalism: Travelling, writing, creating, hosting, contacting and developing.

We have been proudly supported by our readers for over 10 years. If you enjoy our independent coverage, please consider becoming a RaceFans Supporter today. As a bonus, all our Supporters can also browse the site ad-free. Sign up or find out more via the links below:

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Singapore Grand Prix articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

8 comments on “Norris admits he laughed at how badly Verstappen’s car handled in Singapore”

  1. Think we all laughed this weekend at the Red Bull misery as Singapore remains the place where even the most dominant cars in F1 history struggle.

    Then again we’ll probably forget about it when RB is humiliating the field next week by about 30 secs again.

    1. Most likely they will still be strong. That last stint on the medium brought Max from 15th to 5th (on a track where overtaking is difficult). Quite impressive damage control with a car that had little balance.

  2. “I just think it’s great for F1 if Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Aston, we would be that two, three tenths quicker every race to challenge them in race pace,”

    Carlos, you were in exactly the same car as Max, when you both debuted in 2015. Max outscored you 49 to 18, despite it being 2nd season in single seaters for Max and 6th for you, amazing gulf in experience and 13 to 4 in first 4 races of 2016. Can you tell us how do you want to challenge Max without having significant car advantage?

    1. He was beaten, no doubt, but the delta was pretty small between the 2 rookies. To the point it was pretty tense between the 2 driver and their 2 father…. Why do you think RB rushed to separate both of them ?

      So yeah, as Carlos said that would be cool to see all these driver challenging Max, as they all have the skills to do, instead of seeing “the best driver in the best car” mopping the floor with his underperforming-but compliant teamate

    2. In 2015 both Verstappen and Sainz finished an average 10th in classified results, with Verstappen 11th average on the grid and Sainz 12th. Verstappen certainly outscored Sainz, helped by two big scoring results with 4th places in Hungary and the USA; great stuff – no doubt about it. But in Hungary Sainz retired late in the race in Hungary while running 6th just behind Verstappen who was then 5th, and in the USA Sainz finished 6th before a penalty demoted him to 7th.

      Verstappen did better, which is why he was promoted to Red Bull and Sainz was not. But it was not a trouncing by any means.

      Anyway, that’s almost 10 years ago now. Both drivers have grown and learned a lot since then.

      1. IIRC Sainz outqualified Verstappen in 2015 over the entire season. Verstappen looked mighty on race days, but I agree, it was no trouncing.

        1. as far as i know the quali was 9-10 that year.. the last quali sainz pipped verstappen with 0,039.
          So not really convincing figures compared with the racepoints.
          . But sainz experienced a lot more technical problems.
          Both were future talents.. and it shows ;)

  3. Yeah, seeing the onboard from Lando you saw the RB back going everywhere. A ‘I can relate to that’ giggle was in it’s place and I am sure Max can appreciate it. Unfortunately there are also some on the grid that take things way too seriously and way too personal. It’s great to see the dynamic between him, Max, Sainz, Leclerc, Albon. Keep it up!

Comments are closed.