Lando Norris curses Barcelona start: Should have won

Lando Norris’ disappointment was written all over his face after second place on Sunday in Barcelona. The McLaren driver missed out on his second Formula 1 victory despite pole position. His race was already decided at the start when he lost out to eventual winner Max Verstappen and Mercedes driver George Russell. The Briton is convinced that his pace would have been enough for more and mourns the missed opportunity.

“I should have won. I had a bad start, it’s as simple as that,” explains Norris, who finished just two seconds behind Verstappen. The first few meters of the race had decided the Red Bull driver’s victory. While Norris defended himself against Verstappen, who had started from second place, Russell passed them both on the outside and took the lead. However, this only lasted for two laps. When the DRS was released, Verstappen made short work of it and passed Russell. Norris was unable to do so.

“I’m not sure yet and I have to look at it again. I don’t know what I did wrong and whether I did anything wrong. It just didn’t work out,” said Norris about his start, where he initially only concentrated on Verstappen. “I only lost a little bit to Max. It wasn’t like he was completely on the same level.”

It was only when Russell attacked with the double slipstream that Norris was checkmated. “George surprised me on the outside,” said the 24-year-old. While the Mercedes passed him on the outside, Verstappen braked him on the inside before turn one. “We missed the chance to win in the first corner,” said McLaren team boss Andrea Stella in an interview with Sky. While Verstappen started the race on used soft tires, Norris was on fresh tires.

However, he was unable to fully exploit the advantage behind Russell. Although he also quickly moved into the DRS window after Verstappen’s successful maneuver, he was not within striking distance during the entire first stint. “In the first stint we had a tire advantage and the opportunity to catch the Mercedes. But then we concentrated on Verstappen,” explains Stella.

The world champion pulled ahead by over four seconds, while Norris was playing for time behind Russell. With the undercut, he initially fell behind both Mercedes drivers and Carlos Sainz, all of whom he had to overtake on the track in the second stint. Verstappen had now pulled ahead by nine seconds. Norris caught up in free driving, but the gap he had created in the first stint was too big.

“Fair play to Red Bull and Max. They did the job again, but at the same time it’s a shame we lost. It’s a bit frustrating, but we’ll work on that for next time,” said Norris, who set the fastest lap in his hunt for Verstappen and was more than happy with the performance of his car.

“We were definitely the fastest today. I just lost it at the beginning. I’m disappointed about that, but there are a lot of positives too. It was just a negative aspect that kind of ruined everything,” Norris said. “But I know I can work on that for next time. Other than that, it was good points for us. A big thank you to the team because the car was fantastic. We just need to sort out a few little things and then we’ll be at the front.”

He already sees the chance to make amends in the upcoming two weekends, which will take Formula 1 to Spielberg and Silverstone on its triple header: “These are two of my favorite race tracks in terms of our performance and I have always performed well there. I’m looking forward to it, we’re on a good run and doing well.”

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