Lando Norris was left to rue a late failure on his McLaren car which robbed him of his best-ever finish in Formula 1 at the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Briton made an excellent start from 11th on the grid and took advantage of melee into La Source involving multiple cars including Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen to move up to fifth place.

Norris comfortably held the position throughout and was on course to record his best result of his fledging F1 career, only for a late technical failure to hit, forcing him to pull over on the start-finish straight as he began the final lap of the race.

Asked if he felt it was the most unlucky race of his career to date, Norris told Sky Sports: “Yes, I would say so.

“I was on for my best result. As a team we were on for a joint-best result from what Carlos [Sainz Jr] had achieved.

“Things were looking so good, things were looking up I guess because for a while I haven’t had a great result for myself.”

Norris said he did not know the “exact” cause of his failure but added that “whatever was giving me power, stopped giving me power.”

McLaren’s drivers had struggled for performance all weekend at Spa but a series of tweaks to the car ahead of qualifying helped unlock more race-pace on Sunday.

“It wasn’t expected, it wasn’t unexpected,” Norris explained. “We made some steps from P3 to qualifying, which we thought maybe made some progress with the car and moved it in the right direction, but we didn’t know what it was going to be like in the race-pace.

“It was tricky to know what to expect but our pace in the middle of the race, although I was getting a bit nervous when the Racing Point’s were behind, because their pace all weekend has been extremely good, I expected to see my gap come down but it didn’t, it was getting bigger.

“Our pace was very good and we just need to focus on why we were really bad in Friday P1 and P2 and how the changes we made improved and transformed the car in a really big way.

“So, we need to sit down and do our homework and come back to Monza, which is going to be another tough track for us.”

Teammate Carlos Sainz Jr also saw his race brought to a premature end by an early reliability failure, with McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl stressing his side will undertake “thorough analysis” to get to the bottom of the issues it faced ahead of next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

“The performance the team and Lando put together was impressive,” he said. “After avoiding trouble in Turn 1, emerging in P5, we were fully in control of our race.

“That, of course, is encouraging. It’s now important to study our race and understand where this pace came from.

“The negatives are two DNFs. Two technical failures. This, obviously, is very disappointing.

“We need to wait until we have the cars back in the garage to begin a thorough analysis, together with our colleagues from Renault, to understand in detail what happened.

“We lost a great opportunity to score good points today - but we have to put this behind us and look forward to Monza.”

 

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