Lando Norris, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Norris only quicker in one corner once Verstappen started pushing – Horner

Formula 1

Posted on

| Written by

Red Bull had McLaren covered despite the pace Lando Norris showed during parts of the Spanish Grand Prix, says team principal Christian Horner.

Max Verstappen won today’s race by 2.2 seconds from the McLaren driver. Norris started from pole position but lost his advantage over Verstappen at the start, then took over half a second per lap out of him at times during the race as he tried to catch him.

However once Norris had a clear run at the Red Bull in the final stint, Verstappen’s race engineer told him to push flat out and the gap between the two drivers stabilised. Horner said they were confident they were quick enough to out-run the McLaren.

“We felt at that stage that he’d done such a good job in managing the tyres, there was only one corner that we could see that Lando was quicker, which was in turn one, and the rest of the lap he had it covered,” Horner told Sky. “So it was always going to get closer because of that offset in pit stops. But we always felt confident from the tools that we had that he had enough in hand.”

Red Bull introduced an upgrade for their car this weekend, unlike McLaren, though Horner said it’s becoming more difficult to make gains in the third year under the current rules.

“What you’re seeing now is work that’s been going on over the last few months and there’s more in the pipeline,” he said. “But of course you’re into diminishing returns and it’s really incremental.

“On Friday we looked like we were probably fourth-quickest car, but the engineering team did a great job over the weekend, they managed to turn it around.

“We came two hundredths from pole and then obviously managed to get the race win today. But we’re very aware that we need to keep bringing performance to the car.”

Red Bull’s seventh win this year keeps the team 60 points ahead in the constructors’ championship. However Horner is aware of the growing threat from their rivals in recent races.

“I think since Miami, Lando has been probably the most stand-out competitor, and we’ve had to be at the top of our game to be winning these races. They’re tight wins but we keep winning, which is the most important thing.

“McLaren are doing a great job and Ferrari aren’t far away, Mercedes have made progress as well, but we’re just keeping our nose ahead and it’s important that we keep pushing because there’s still a long, long way to go.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2024 Spanish Grand Prix

Browse all 2024 Spanish 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.

9 comments on “Norris only quicker in one corner once Verstappen started pushing – Horner”

  1. Norris sleeps for half the race then decides to attack when it’s too late, just like in Imola.

    Today he can say he lost because Russell was there holding him, but there was no one there at Imola and he let Max build a buffer just the same.

    Max is much more experienced and relaxed. Once Mercedes messed Russell’s first pit stop, Mclaren should’ve called Norris, but they let him do the call and he decided to stay out.

    So basically he would have 40 laps to cut the gap and attack Max, instead, his decision left him having half of that to cut the same gap in similar aged tyres. Mclaren should not let him make the calls anymore. It’s not even the first race they lose because of this.

    1. Edvaldo, I agree with your criticism of the calls. They should have had those conversations before the dace, about what their overall strategies would be in various scenarios, and the calls duting the race should be made by the race engineer who can see the tyre temp info, the gaps to other cars, the likely positions when they re-emerge. This idea that they all have to be nice to each and take everyone’s feelings into account and reach consensus isn’t the way to win races.

    2. McLaren, and to be frank, most of the teams on the grids call strategy like amateurs. They’re so often either so nose deep in numbers and simulations they’ve run before the race that are clearly not matching reality or letting driver’s make decisions without the full picture from the cockpit because it seems like they don’t want to risk their driver being upset with them.

      1. on the grid*

  2. they let him make too many strategic calls he cant see or be aware of. they should make the decisions rather than let his young ego and over optimistic calls get the best of him and his team!

  3. But the McLaren was the quickest car!

    1. Yes, and there are some people, example on the other thread, who, just because norris said mclaren was faster in the race, will believe him instead of the evidence that says red bull was at least equal, which can be seen in the last few laps.

  4. If the pace of both teams are converging Mclaren needs to start mirroring Max’s strategy – they are risking too much trying to outsmart Redbull every time. If Norris is fast he will make up the time in undercut/ overcut on the same strategy, then I will believe if Mclaren is the faster car on the grid.

    1. Exactly, it’s hard for me to believe mclaren was fastest in any race except miami’s last stint, and because their superiority in that stint was more than red bull’s superiority initially, I guess mclaren can be considered the fastest car for that one race.

Comments are closed.