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Norris Admits Ferrari Had the Faster Car

Norris Admits: “Ferrari Had the Faster Car”

25/03/2024

Lando Norris clinches his 14th Formula 1 podium in Australia, continuing his streak without a win, setting a record he wishes was different.

Is the McLaren F1 driver thrilled with this 3rd place, or is he disappointed that his McLaren F1 didn’t have the pace to contend for victory in the absence of Max Verstappen’s Red Bull? Is he overjoyed after Melbourne? Surprised by this podium?

“With one less Red Bull, I would say no. Our pace was good throughout the weekend. We did very well in qualifying. We showed good race pace on Friday. So, I wouldn’t have said we stood no chance.”

“I probably didn’t expect us to be competing with the Ferraris. I think our pace wasn’t as good as Carlos’s, but probably better than Charles’s. To be honest, we might have missed a bit of an opportunity to be 2nd.”

“But yes, for us, it’s a good sign. It’s positive for the whole team. It’s a good boost. Because it’s nice to be back on the podium. Whether the Red Bull was there or not, our pace was good, and I hope this continues in other races.”

With a better strategy (perhaps a second, earlier pit stop), could Lando Norris have beaten Charles Leclerc? Did McLaren F1 miss an opportunity?

“We left nothing on the table, but yes, the lap we were going to play the ‘undercut,’ Charles pitted. And so, I had to adopt a different strategy. We were close in the second stint. I was very close. If I had pitted (earlier), I might have succeeded in the ‘undercut,’ but Charles pitted, so… I missed that chance.”

“One always wonders what would happen if we did it a lap earlier. But it’s hard to make all those decisions at the time. And it can easily go wrong at the same time. There are always consequences. Nonetheless, we did a very good job. Third and fourth for us, as a team, is positive and it’s a good haul of points.”

“But they (Ferrari) were clearly a better team, and they have a better car at the moment. So, whether we can beat them or not, they have a better car, they have a faster car, and we need to work harder until we can do the same as them.”

With its high-speed corners, could Suzuka be a more favorable circuit for McLaren F1? Even more than last year?

“Not really. If you look at last year, we weren’t terrible in Japan considering the car we had. But it was always a good weekend for us. It’s a similar layout, Suzuka. There are a lot of high-speed corners… The problem is Ferrari has greatly improved its speed in these corners, and that’s where they struggled last year. So, that’s why they were able to make such a step forward.”

“I think we can still have a good weekend at Suzuka. We can still look forward to it. And I would like to say that if we can have two cars on the podium again, it would be a very good weekend. But this year, we have two other cars competing on this type of circuit (the Ferraris), and not just Max.”

Norris emphasizes he was clearly faster than Piastri

At least, Lando Norris can take solace in having dominated his teammate Oscar Piastri in race pace, and not just by strategy. Norris even had the satisfaction of Piastri letting him by (the two drivers were on slightly different strategies).

The Briton was, of course, not the most popular McLaren F1 driver in Australia, but he expected that.

However, a question may nag Australian fans: shouldn’t McLaren F1 have done everything to ensure Piastri finished on the podium in front of his home crowd?

“I was much faster and I would have overtaken him anyway,” emphasizes Lando Norris about his teammate. “It’s just that you don’t want to delay the process. And the more time I spent behind him, the more I compromised my chances of catching up to Charles. So yes, I don’t think it changed the outcome.”

“He made my life easier and I think he helped us as a team, for which I’m very grateful, and we have a lot of respect for each other in this kind of situation. But it didn’t change his result, I don’t think.”

“But yes, for any driver racing in front of their home crowd, you want to get on the podium. I never forget that, and I never forget what Oscar has brought to the team. But I don’t think the final result changed because of that move, regardless.”

Norris Admits: “Ferrari Had the Faster Car”. Norris Admits: “Ferrari Had the Faster Car”

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