Lando Norris had to grapple with the evident limitations of the MCL60 on high-speed tracks during the Belgian GP, as he found himself lacking the strength to mount any significant defense in the race. Mired in seventh place, the deficiency of his car stood out.
Interestingly, in spite of finishing a place lower than he did at Spa, Norris felt his car had been more competitive at large. In comparison to previous experiences, he found himself more equipped to rival others’ cars on the track.
When quizzed by F1 Initiative about his eighth place finish at Monza, Norris responded, “I think I’m still happy.” He continued, “It was P8, some points. And maybe we were hoping for a touch more. But also at times we were expecting not to even be in the points. So I’m happy with it.”
Norris further implied that his performance was majorly an exercise in damage limitation, while also recognizing the progress they have made on a low-downforce circuit. He noted, “I know there wasn’t a lot, and a bit of is just things you have from last year, and trying to optimise them for here. But we made some good improvements, and it was a raceable car, which is a good step forward. And there’s only one more low downforce track this season [Las Vegas].”
Commenting on the expert driving of Alex Albon, whom he followed for many laps. Norris stated, “I knew it before already very well,” He added, “I’ve been in this position a lot over the last few years! Credit to Alex, he drove a very good race. He didn’t make any mistakes, which is annoying. I tried, we had good battles. I tried quite a bit. But they were too quick for us in the straights. And even with DRS, I catch maybe 2-3kph more than what he’s doing. So, I’m still happy.”
He commended Albon’s driving and crediting him for limiting McLaren‘s points. According to Norris, “The pace was good. But the overtaking was too difficult.”
Regarding an incident with Albon at Turn 1, Norris complained, “I was alongside. I think he knew I was there. So he definitely got off the brakes and sent it in a bit harder than he normally did. And yeah, if I tried to say on the inside for Turn 2, then there would have been a crash, and we probably would have done a Max [Verstappen] and Lewis [Hamilton]. So yeah, I think it was fair, we race fair. He did as well. Of course, you have to be elbows out sometimes. And he did that. He did a good race.”
Norris minimized the collision with fellow teammate Oscar Piastri at the same turn, noting that neither had been damaged in the clash. Norris said, “I guess he was on cold tyres or something, so he just had a bit of understeer. I left enough of a gap, I think, but just impossible to see, it was very difficult to see in the mirror. Hard and cold tyres is not a nice combination, and I guess he just ran into my rear tyre. I think we respect each other. We give each other space. Unfortunate, but nothing happened. So all okay.”