Imola proves McLaren are back in business, predicts Norris

football19 May 2024 16:37| © AFP
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Lando Norris © Gallo Images

Lando Norris believes McLaren will be fighting regularly for race victories after narrowly missing out on his second win in Sunday's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

The Briton, who scored his maiden triumph in Miami two weeks earlier, finished only 0.725 seconds behind victorious three-time champion Max Verstappen of Red Bull after a vain late charge.

"I think we’re now at the point where we can happily say we are in the position of Ferrari and Red Bull and that's what we have to get used to now,” he said.

"It’s frustrating and it's painful!

"The team are doing a good job. I think we’re all doing a very good job so it's business as usual and it's focusing on doing the same things. It's just now we are fighting for first or second.

"So, it’s still a surprise to say it’s frustrating not to win, but after last weekend and the improvements we’ve made, it’s what we should start to expect."

McLaren team boss Zak Brown said he felt the same way and forecast that the team would win more races with Norris and Oscar Piastri (fourth on Sunday) this year.

"We have all the ingredients now," he said. "We’ve got a driver pairing that I would not exchange for anyone else and I think we can expect them to be winning more races this year."


Despite his disappointment, Norris was upbeat about the lessons from Sunday’s race.

"It's so annoying, but it's been a good day for us. It’s clear we struggled in the beginning but then I controlled things.

"We got the tyres into a good window and I pushed and I felt I was flying again. So we had a lot of positives. We were just not fast enough in the first part of the race.”

He added that Verstappen had "done a good job" and had "got lucky with the slipstream”"he had in qualifying on Saturday from Haas's Nico Hulkenberg.

"Maybe I need to make more friends on the grid," joked Norris.

"It was a real charge and I nearly went off five or six times. But we were much stronger in the second stint. With a couple more laps, I think we’d have had him."