Norris ‘nervous’ about getting involved in F1 title battle

Lando Norris admits he is “a bit nervous” about the prospect of getting involved with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s Formula 1 championship showdown in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. 
Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team and Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull Racing
Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team and Max Verstappen (NLD), Red Bull…

Overshadowed by the battle for pole position between Verstappen and Hamilton, Norris produced one of the laps of qualifying to take an excellent third on the grid behind the battling title rivals and ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez. 

The McLaren driver will start Sunday’s race on soft tyres, with Hamilton the only driver inside the top five beginning on the medium compound. That could leave Hamilton exposed to those behind when the lights go out. 

That is a scenario Red Bull team principal Christian Horner alluded to after qualifying, telling Sky Sports: “He’s surrounded by guys starting on soft tyres around him. Checo, Lando, I think one of the Ferraris. 

“He’s going to have his hands full in the first few laps to deal with that.” 

But Norris said he is wary about getting in amongst Verstappen and Hamilton and potentially playing a decisive role in the outcome of the world championship. 

“I'm a bit nervous, because I kind of want to just stay where I am, and just watch everything unfold over the first few laps, or even the whole race,” he admitted in parc ferme. 

“I also don't want to really get involved too much because it can cause a lot of controversy. So I don't know. I don't know whether to go for the move or not go for the move. But I'll do my best and, if I have a chance, I'll go for it.”

Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team
Lando Norris (GBR), McLaren F1 Team

Speaking in a later media session, Norris reiterated that he is conflicted. 

While he does not want to find himself at the centre of any controversy, the Briton is eager to capitalise on opportunities that may fall his way.

“You’ve got to respect that they’re going for a championship and you don’t want to harm anything that’s going on there,” he explained. 

“I guess you don’t want to take any excessive risks. You know what they’re fighting for, I know what I’m fighting for.

“But it’s a race, I’m allowed to overtake them, I can still race against them and if I have a chance to overtake I can still overtake.

“Of course there’s a lot of responsibility for me and a lot of responsibility for them, but they also have things to lose and I also have things to gain. Of course I don’t want to ruin anything, I don’t want to be too involved.

“Realistically I know I’m not racing them, so I’ve just got to pick my battles wisely.”

Asked where his impressive Q3 lap had come from, Norris replied: “I don't know really! 

“It came already in Q3 run one. I made some improvements, but also a few mistakes.

“Then I just had a clean lap in the end. I went for pole, but it didn't quite work out as it's still a little bit off. But no, it was a nice lap to P3. It was a bit of a surprise.”

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