Max Verstappen, Lando Norris, Circuit de Catalunya, 2024

Norris: Taking second in points “doesn’t matter” behind error-free Verstappen

Formula 1

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Lando Norris moved up to second in the championship yesterday but knows he can’t entertain thoughts of challenging the runaway leader at the moment.

Max Verstappen extended his championship lead with his seventh win in the 10th grand prix of the year. The Red Bull driver holds a 69-point lead with 396 available over the remaining races.

Norris, who lost his advantage over Verstappen from pole position at the start of yesterday’s race, said he needs to eliminate mistakes to have a chance of beating his rival.

“Max is not making any mistakes, really,” said Norris after yesterday’s race. “So I think as soon as you make one little mistake, they’re going to be ahead.

“Honestly, if you look at it yesterday, they probably had a slightly quicker car, in my opinion. I could be wrong, but in my opinion I think they had a slightly quicker car.

“Today, we had the quicker car. But obviously, I still managed to finish second. So it’s about the smaller things at the minute.

“But every track is a bit different. We’ve seen Red Bull struggle a little bit more a few races ago. I think we’re still proving to be one of the most consistent teams at every track that we’ve been to. Mercedes were quick as last weekend in Canada, and now probably a little bit behind here.

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“So it’s a little bit up and down. I think we just need to stay doing what we’re doing, because it’s good enough for the time being. But it’s just trying to eliminate a couple of those small, little mistakes.”

The McLaren driver admitted yesterday’s race wasn’t the first time he’d missed a chance to beat Verstappen. However he believes he can challenge Verstappen for the championship if they can eliminate errors over the remaining races.

“We should have done better today. We should have got some points back on Max. Potentially, there was a chance to beat him in Canada. So two races that I finished second and he’s won.

“But Max needs to stop winning in order [for us] to achieve that. Even though I moved into second in the championship, that doesn’t matter. I couldn’t care if I was second or tenth, it’s more about the gap to what Max is and he’s still extending it at the minute and that’s something we can’t afford to let him run away with it at this point of the season.

“But we can do [it]. If I just made [a] better decision in Canada and if I had a better start today, we could have won two races. And I know there’s a lot of – and there kind of always has been a lot of ‘shoulda, woulda, couldas’ – but we have what it takes. It’s just about putting it all together.”

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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: Taking second in points “doesn’t matter” behind error-free Verstappen”

  1. Well Max already had a DNF this year in Australia costing him 18 or 25 points – so far Norris is the only driver to score points in all 10 races.

    Also despite Max winning 3 of the last 4 races – Norris only lost 16 points to Max. If the McLaren gets any stronger it doesn’t matter what Max does or if Norris/McLaren make minor errors – Norris will be ahead with on good days Piastri in the mix as well – once that happens a 69 point lead will disappear very quickly – still 14 races – 4 sprints and 396 points available.

    Last 4 races (3 Red Bull wins & 1 Ferrari win)
    Red Bull scored 91 points of which 83 are scored by Max
    McLaren scored 113 points of which 67 are scored by Norris

    So no McLaren win in last 4 races yet they outscored Red Bull (winning 3 races) by 22 points.
    Yet “has gone bananas” Horner keeps defending Perez saying he does well and Red Bull does well because they outscored all other teams in Spain.

    1. Of course they will defend their (so recent) decision. He may sing a different song in some podcast in ten years.

      1. Aha, an interviewer asks “Just how slow was perez in your red bull championship winning years?” “Oh, don’t get me started on that!”.

        Indeed, so far verstappen is fighting alone for both titles, we need a stronger mclaren for red bull to regret their decision to stick to an underperforming driver, as things are they don’t mind.

  2. He is not wrong in his analysis but he has insufficiently taken into account Max stepping it up a notch once McLaren gets the small errors straightened out. I am not convinced that without these small mistakes they would have won Canada and Spain. There seems to be some margin left on Max’ side, which he only deploys if needed. And let’s not forget the strategy planning at RedBull is hugely helped by having a consistent ‘clock work’ driver in the car which makes predictive models work so much smoother.

    1. As always, I watched the onboard of Verstappen during the race yesterday on a second screen. Believe me, he was on it and there was nothing left on the table.

      1. The article on

        What radio calls reveal about Verstappen’s controlled pace and Perez’s struggles

        displays another view on this

    2. As good as verstappen is, he can’t do miracles, and you could see that in the last few races of 2021 he couldn’t overcome a mercedes that became significantly stronger at that point, he can however be incredibly consistent, like you said, more so than most other champions I remember.

  3. Mclaren is a top car now, so they should not be happy in coming second place when they could have won or at least have done something better to challenge the leader.

    Thats 2 races in a row they kept making Max’s life easier by complicating things not doing the obvious calls.

    1. There’s often a lag in how teams approach races relative to their performance. It took Mercedes a good while to stop racing as if they were going to win, and it seems McLaren is still trying to secure podiums. It’ll change if they keep this good form up.

    2. Obvious calls are easy to make after the race…

      1. You’re closely chasing a guy who’s had a bad pit stop. If you immediately go for tyres, unless it’s another bad pit stop, track position is yours. What’s not obvious about that?

        It was obvious way before the end of the race.

        1. I’m guessing he thought he still had enough tyre life and that stopping that early would be bad for his strategy against verstappen; if he thought tyres were gone he would’ve stopped as soon as possible.

          1. yeah, but he was faster than the Mercedes. He only did 24 laps on the medium tyres because if he stayed out longer, he would have to overtake both Mercedes again on his last stint.

            Had he cleared Russell after the first pit stops he would be free to unleash his pace throughout the whole stint, not needing to waste time dealing with Russell and Hamilton to then stop early because otherwise he would have to pass them again, he would’ve built enough gap on track, in particular because Russell wasn’t very fast with medium tyres, to keep it closer to max on the last phase of the race.

            Mclaren is fast, but not fast enough to eat a 9 sec gap to a Red Bull in 20 laps.

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