Norris gives Verstappen hell: just one more lap

Lando Norris turned a long-running Formula 1 race into a real thriller in Imola on Sunday. In the final phase he drove like he was unleashed and prepared to challenge Max Verstappen for victory a second time after Miami. In the end it was just not enough for the McLaren driver to attack the world champion. He ran out of time, but not the pace. Norris is buoyed by his team’s upward trend.

“It hurts to say this, but one or two laps more and I think I would have caught him. It’s a shame,” said Norris, who took the checkered flag after 63 laps just 0.725 seconds behind Verstappen. The Red Bull driver had won the start against him from pole position and seemed to have the race firmly under control afterwards. However, in the final phase the tide turned.

Norris turned a six-second deficit into one and a half seconds in the final quarter of the race. Verstappen parried and responded with fast lap times, but Norris was getting closer and closer. However, he only made it into the DRS window at the start of the last lap. “I fought hard until the last lap, but I lost a little too much to Max at the beginning,” he explains, which is why nothing came of the second victory of his Formula 1 career.

In the final sprint, it wasn’t just Norris who was at his absolute limit. “I just didn’t have any grip anymore and was sliding a lot. I saw Lando getting closer. For the last ten laps I just drove at full throttle,” said Verstappen, who had previously controlled the action at will. “It was just a little more difficult to manage on the hard tire.”

Norris now expects victories with McLaren

At the beginning, Norris had to orientate himself backwards towards his pursuer Charles Leclerc. “He was just so much faster in the first stint,” said Norris, referring to Verstappen, who was already out of reach for him on lap three when the DRS was activated. Leclerc came within a second of Norris in the final third of the race when he reported to his team on the radio that he no longer had any pace. In fact, he had taken better care of his tires of all the drivers in the leading group.

“It was a difficult first half, but a much better second half,” says Norris, who, after his fourth podium this season, is preparing to compete with Leclerc and Perez in the fight for second place in the overall standings. “I think we are now at a point where we can be happy and say that we are playing in the same league as Ferrari and Red Bull. We have to get used to that. We are doing a good job as a team, all together,” praises Norris his team.

At the start of the season, this balance of power was still uncertain, but the latest updates and the self-made victory in Miami have made McLaren a serious challenger. “We are now fighting for the top two places. It is still surprising to say here now that it is disappointing not to win. But after last weekend and the improvements, we should slowly start to expect that from ourselves.”

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *