Lando Norris’ gutted reaction which proves he’s a genuine F1 title contender

"I’m frustrated because I didn’t just lose a race to someone. I lost it to Max"

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race
Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren in parc ferme. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Lando Norris gave a gutted reaction to missing victory at the F1 Spanish Grand Prix which is proof of his growth into a title contender.

The McLaren driver was on pole position but watched on as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sealed another victory.

It extends Verstappen’s lead at the top of the standings to 69 points clear of second-placed Norris.

Norris, who was visibly disappointed, was told afterwards of the encouragement to see himself as the main challenger to the champion.

“But further behind first,” he replied to Sky Sports.

“I don’t care what position it is. It’s the gap to first that I care about!

“That is bigger today. I’m frustrated because I didn’t just lose a race to someone. I lost it to Max and he’s the leader of the championship.”

Norris was asked if he believes the McLaren was the quicker car in Barcelona, thereby giving him hope of race victories in the coming weeks.

“Today, yes. Yesterday, no,” he answered. “Today we were the quickest car, fact!

“The team deserves it. From start to finish we were the quickest.

“The overtaking, the following, the dirty air… that cost me the win today.

“I didn’t do a good enough job. As simple as that.”

Norris was bluntly asked if he has the machinery to win the F1 championship.

He said: “If it’s like this every weekend? I need something more.

“I need Max to not finish second, or do as good as he’s doing at the minute.

“He’s doing a good job. I can’t fault him.

“We have what we need. I have what I need. The team has what they need.

“As a team, we have a good car. We still need to improve on some things. I’m confident that we can.

“Today, we had the opportunity to win.

“Whether or not we had the best package? Or we didn’t? Today we should have won the race but we didn’t.

“Those are opportunities that we can’t miss out on.”

Lando Norris analyses George Russell battle

Pole-sitter Norris and Verstappen were both overtaken brilliantly by George Russell as the grand prix began.

Norris reacted: “It wasn’t like it was a bad start. It was two metres.

“Max just got there. I couldn’t cover him. And that was it.

“From George’s side? George had such good slipstream.

“The cars are getting more and more draggy, in some ways, because there is more and more downforce, in an efficient way.

“George’s slipstream passed both of us!

“Even if you took me out of it, George still would have got past Max. That’s the crazy part of it all.

“I did what I could. It wasn’t the best start. I didn’t think it was a bad start.

“Nowadays, when it’s so close, one or two metres generally makes a difference.

“Whether you can win a race, like today, or I don’t win a race.

“A shame that such a small margin cost us.

“It was a good race apart from that. From Turn 2 onwards it was pretty much perfect.

I can’t complain but I lost it in the beginning.”

Norris, on new soft tyres, was not able to swiftly reclaim position on Russell, on used softs.

He explained why: “All the dirty air. The first three laps of a stint, you can. Because the tyres are so good.

“The beginning of the stint, I was good. I could. That was Max’s opportunity to get past George, and he did.

“After, the tyres just get so hot. You just can’t do different lines. You can’t do out of the dirty air and cut back.

“There was nothing else I could have done.

It was as simple as everyone falling into line, a little bit. Then towards the end of the stint, you have to do different things.

“It’s complicated because I’m not going to push so hard to pass him that I ruin my own race by over-pushing.

“I’ve got to think of the bigger picture, at the same time.

“What we did today was exactly what we needed to do.”

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