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Norris Clinches Second in Shanghai 2024

Norris: Some elements worked in our favor in Shanghai

22/04/2024

Lando Norris achieved his best result of the season at the Chinese Grand Prix, finishing an impressive second.

Greatly disappointed by the Sprint where he finished only sixth despite starting first, Lando Norris perfectly salvaged his weekend by securing a very impressive second place at the Chinese Grand Prix, his best result of the season so far. The British driver admits he was surprised to finish so high.

“There was a big improvement from Saturday to Sunday. I think that’s why we were a bit surprised, but it’s a good surprise of course. It’s hard to say why, you know, we struggled a bit. I’m sure it’s the same for everyone, with certain things throughout the season, which have always limited us. I felt comfortable and the car also performed well. Conditions cooled down, the wind calmed, and I think these two factors played a bit more in our favor. That’s why on Saturday, if you had asked me what we expected for Sunday, I would have said I wouldn’t be in the top 3, not even in the top 5, you see. So, it’s a good surprise. And yes, the car felt much better. But obviously, it wasn’t fast enough to compete with the Red Bulls.”

“What changed? We were faster than we thought. These are the limits, the areas where we expected to struggle, probably much more, we didn’t struggle as much. Those longer corners, like turn 1, have always been a big weakness for us. And part of turn 1 was probably better than we expected. And the second part was probably as we expected. We are still getting to know the car, it’s as simple as that. This circuit is very different. The tarmac is quite strange. Maybe that played in our favor a bit more than we thought, maybe with the old tarmac, we would have struggled a bit more. It’s just little things. We’re not making anything up. We are giving our honest opinion on the situation in which we want to be.”

“I think if we were to approach a weekend knowing we will be strong, we would say it. Most often, we are not very optimistic, because all year we have been behind Red Bull, all year we have been behind Ferrari, there is no reason for us to suddenly think we should be leading. But yes, nothing suggested an extraordinary race, especially after the Sprint. But things went as planned, and everything went well from that moment on. I didn’t make any mistakes in the first turn and I didn’t go off the track. It was a good start. I overtook the Aston Martin and was able to control the race. It was very different from Saturday.”

A late VSC that could have ruined everything

Norris could have been very unlucky mid-race when the virtual safety car was deployed just as he had passed the pit lane entry. Fortunately for the McLaren F1 driver, Valtteri Bottas’s car took a very long time to be cleared, and so he was able to pit on the following lap.

“There were some strong words said at that moment. I knew because it was obvious there would be a VSC. But it wasn’t coming out. So I was thinking, ‘I bet it will come out just as I’m taking the last turn,’ and that’s what happened. Even my engineer said it. I told him. Luckily, it stayed out for a good while and then the safety car came out. It was good, I think our strategy worked well. I felt confident in the first stint, so I could run very long. If the VSC had turned off before I reached the pit lane, I would have been much more annoyed than I am now. But yes, things went our way, that’s for sure. Because it forced the Red Bulls to stop again. And it allowed me to get ahead of Checo (Perez). And that probably saved me a bit.”

Speaking of the Mexican, was Norris surprised that the Red Bull driver couldn’t get closer to him at the end of the Grand Prix?

“Hard to say. I think it’s a circuit where if you have control and you can manage things, it can really work in your favor. And I think that’s where the race was so different for us compared to Saturday. I was behind the whole pack. If you overheat your tyres, you struggle. There’s not much you can do. This time, I was able to control things myself. I got away from Charles very quickly. And then Charles was holding up Checo a lot. And Checo probably had to use a lot of his tires trying to get past him. I might have expected a bit more of a fight, but knowing how hard he pushed early on to get past the Ferrari, it allowed me to be a bit more comfortable, which was a good thing.”

Norris Clinches Second in Shanghai 2024

Norris Clinches Second in Shanghai, Best Season Result. Norris Clinches Second in Shanghai, Best Season Result. f1 2024 Norris Clinches Second in Shanghai, Best Season Result.

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