Ferrari secured third behind Mercedes and Red Bull at the final race in Abu Dhabi

McLaren spent most of the season in third but a combination of bad luck and Ferrari’s upgraded power unit in the second half of the season gave the Italian manufacturer the advantage. 

Reflecting on the battle with Ferrari in 2021, Norris says it kept McLaren ‘on its toes’.

“I would say it has helped quite a bit,” Norris said. “It has been that mentality of them keeping us on our toes, them keeping us pushing to try to find the smallest bits of lap times. “It is easy at times to get complacent and start to take your mind off of this. Especially if you are on your own is the third quickest car and no one is ahead of you or behind you. 

“There are definitely ways to fall into that trap. It has been good for us, probably the same for them. It has not been an easy year for them. So it definitely benefited both of us. But for sure us I would say. It has been a tough season. I still believe that we have had a much better season than last year. A bit closer to the front. 

“Our gap to the rest of them is also much bigger apart from Ferrari. It has been a very good season. Not just in terms of results and points but also how we have worked together as a team. How we maximize things. We are in a better position for next year. We are going to be racing them more often, and hopefully the guys at the front more often.”

Norris enjoyed his best season to date with four podium finishes and sixth in the drivers’ championship.

Despite it tailing off at the end of the season, Norris was proud of his 2021 campaign.

“It has definitely been my best season so far,” he explained. “Which is always a good thing when I’m only in my third season. I am very happy. It has been my most successful year with some podiums, the one, two for us as a team in Monza

“My first pole position in F1. I have achieved a lot. I’ve also done well for the team and been there for the team. We've had those chances to be on the podium and score the points. 

“And bring that fight to Ferrari for as long as possible. Although they have crept a little too far ahead. From my side and even for us as a team, it has been a good year. We should be happy with what we’ve done.”