Lando Norris, McLaren, Losail International Circuit, 2023

Disappointed Norris “should have fought for two victories” in Qatar

Formula 1

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Lando Norris could not hide his disappointment with his performance over the Qatar Grand Prix weekend despite standing on the podium for the third round in a row.

The McLaren driver believes he missed a rare opportunity to beat Max Verstappen to victory on a weekend when McLaren were especially strong.

His rookie team mate Oscar Piastri was ahead of him at the end of every session at the Losail International Circuit, and won the sprint race.

Norris’ frustration began with his performance in Friday’s qualifying session, where track limits violations limited him to 10th on the grid for the grand prix. A mistake at the last corner on his final lap in Saturday’s second qualifying session opened the door for Piastri to take pole position and win that race.

Further frustrations came in the sprint race where he fell from second to sixth at the start. He remakred later that “any chance to go backwards, I pretty much took” despite recovering to third in the 19-lap encounter.

Despite rising from 10th to finish third in the grand prix, Norris remained disappointed with his overall performance.

Like all teams, McLaren went into the race facing some uncertainty over their potential performance due to the one-off restrictions imposed on tyre use. Due to concerns over potential failures, the FIA imposed a maximum stint length of 18 laps.

“We knew we had great pace,” said Norris. “So it was a bit tough to know just what you had to do with the pit stops and things. I think it was really hard for anyone to really know how it was all going to play out.

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“But we knew we had great pace, maybe not initially to fight for a win, but to get up to the front at least. And initially, I would say, to fight the Mercedes, but they did a lovely job of making our life a lot easier.”

Lewis Hamilton tangled with George Russell at turn one, immediately handing two places to both McLarens.

“So I could just focus on catching the guys that we were definitely quicker than, which was the Ferrari and the Aston Martins,” Norris continued. “By the time we came through turn one, I felt like we could at least fight for the podium straight away. So from lap one a podium was on the cards and that was my target.”

But that target was below what he felt he and the McLaren MCL60 were capable of before the weekend began.

“If I want to be honest with myself, I should have fought for two pole positions this weekend and potentially two victories.

“I know it’s a big thing to say, but I think if things went well, if I just did a better job and didn’t make the mistakes I did over the last two days… which is why I’ve been so frustrated, because I knew what was on the cards, what we were able to potentially achieve, and that was victories, both yesterday and today.

“So I feel like it was a weekend of missed opportunities for myself to take the fight to Max and at least give ourselves that opportunity.”

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2023 Qatar Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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11 comments on “Disappointed Norris “should have fought for two victories” in Qatar”

  1. I doubt he still could’ve realistically challenged for sprint & race wins.

    1. He’s still faster than Piastri by quite some margin, so at least the sprint win would be possible for him.

      As for the race. that’s a bit of a strech. Max wasn’t pushing, he was keeping a gap. If Norris was the car behind and faster, he would just drive a bit faster to keep a similar gap.

      1. He’s still faster than Piastri by quite some margin

        Is he? Looking at their lap times for the GP it looked pretty even except for between lap 30 and 40 but I don’t know if this was a result of being dropped into traffic after Oscar’s pit stop. Certainly Lando appears to be the better qualifier but I still think Oscar is likely to win a GP before Lando, Oscar seems calm and methodical where Lando seems to get agitated to easily.

        1. To me in pace is where Piastri still leaves a bit to be desired. Norris was 10s off him at certain points of this race and clawed all back to be on his gearbox way before the end of the race.

          I don’t like when he does it, but he could easily talk the team in swapping the cars one more time because he was faster again.

          But it seems Mclaren is already seeing Oscar as his equal already, and not someone to play a supporting role to him and didn’t do it this time.

  2. During the 2021 season, Norris was grabbing every opportunity by the horns. He would have won the Russian GP if it wasn’t for the rain that fell during the last 3 laps. He hasn’t looked close to taking a race win after that. This was a weekend where he looked quicker than Piastri, but just failed to deliver the goods.

  3. Should have fought for one in Singapore.

    1. Lando constant whining and excuses are boring. Is he trying to convince himself here or someone else? Less talking and more actual delivering on track.

  4. Basically tryna create a perception that he’s being held up by his teammate so his team should use team orders to let him by. Maybe should be asking why he’s behind his teammate in the first place. 1 more year of this where Oscar can only get better in learning his long stint race pace/tyre management and Lando’s outward persona might just revealing even further what everyone knows is a real rather weird/odd personality where he’s always taking shady digs/odd comments at people. Very insecure lad

    1. Bingo. I think Norris is great BTW, but this is just the simple truth.

  5. Lando did fight for both victories. That’s the truth of it.
    Piastri beat him on both counts.

  6. He REALLY hates being beat by his teammate. Cue this type of comment every time

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