Frustrated Norris admits he ‘grabbed every opportunity to go backwards’

Formula 1

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McLaren’s Lando Norris says that he is “frustrated” with himself despite finishing third in the sprint race in Qatar.

Norris’s McLaren team mate, Oscar Piastri, won the sprint race around the Losail circuit from pole position. After missing an opportunity to take pole from Piastri with a mistake in the final corner in sprint qualifying, Norris finished one place lower than he started, coming in third behind Max Verstappen.

The trio all started the race on the medium tyre compound. Norris was passed at the start by Verstappen plus three drivers who started on softs: both Ferraris and George Russell’s Mercedes. He eventually regained the places from those soft-shod runners to claim third place.

“It was very tough,” Norris admitted after the sprint race. “Any chance to go backwards, I pretty much took it.

“From the right side of the grid, which is a lot worse than the left, on the medium it was just always going to be very tough. I hung on the first few laps and then just as soon as you got in the rhythm, you had the Safety Cars and so on, the same as the others.

“As soon as I caught the Ferrari than he had DRS so I couldn’t get him the first lap. So I was just a little bit out of rhythm, in a way, to get past and keep up with what Max was doing.”

He added he was compromised when he hit fluid dropped when Sergio Perez, Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Ocon collided. “I caught the wet patch in turn two when the guys crashed so I went backwards again.”

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Despite making some mistakes in the sprint race, Norris felt he “still fought well” to reclaim his top three finish.

“I didn’t think I’d get George, to be honest, because the DRS was pretty significant. I managed to get him into turn one from a long way back.

“We finished with another double podium for McLaren, which is great – obviously big congrats to Oscar and Max – I feel like Max has stolen Oscar’s limelight a little bit [as he clinched the championship], but both deserved it today.”

Norris will start Sunday’s Qatar Grand Prix from 10th on the grid after losing both his Q3 laps in Friday’s qualifying session for exceeding track limits. Norris admitted it had “just not been my weekend”.

“With myself, I don’t think I’ve ever been so frustrated,” he continued. “With the team, less than ever. The team have done an amazing job.

“It’s always ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ – I should have been on pole today. I should have at least had a good chance to go for it yesterday against Max. But I just made too many mistakes, which have just cost me positions today, cost me positions for tomorrow and I start P10 when we have a good enough car to finish in the top three, easily.

“I’ve just made my life tough, the team’s life tough when it should be the complete opposite and we should be going from the front. But I guess everyone has those weekends. This is the weekend for me. It’s just a shame I’m doing it when the car’s as quick as it is. So that’s what makes it more frustrating.”

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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7 comments on “Frustrated Norris admits he ‘grabbed every opportunity to go backwards’”

  1. I agree with Lando, Max winning the championship and all the razmataz that went with it left Oscar’s victory as a very flat insignificant event unfortunately.

    1. I agree with Lando, Max winning the championship and all the razmataz that went with it left Oscar’s victory as a very flat insignificant event unfortunately.

      I feel sad for Oscar.
      Sidelined by something that was a near certainty as of the end of the Suzuka race.

      It only scraped in on the near by virtue of the fact that if the remote chance of Max breaking his leg or something put him out for the rest of the season, then mathematically Perez could win the WDC if he won every sprint and every GP.
      I will leave you all to figure out the probability of that happening.

      1. and almost all the flaps!!

  2. Piastri is the real deal. Finally, Lando has a challenge on his hands.

  3. Surely he had Carlos Sainz as a challenge when he came into the sport,or did you forget about him?

  4. Probably, the team asked Norris to stay behind his teammate. Or maybe Norris is no good, never was and never will be? He is no better than Sainz (or even worse since Sainz beat him). He will never become a WDC.
    I give Piastri another seasons before he starts destroying Norris.

    1. Let’s see how well this post ages

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