Alonso's lavishes praise on 'impressive' Norris


Fernando Alonso may have been a rookie at Daytona last weekend, but it was another absolute beginner who massively impressed the McLaren driver.

Alonso enjoyed his sportscar baptism of fire at the Rolex 24 with Zak Brown's United Autosports team even if the end-result was a disappointing one.

The two-time world champion had his work cut out for him in Florida as he learned the ropes of endurance racing, but the performance of young team mates Lando Norris and Phil Hanson still caught his attention.

"About my teammates, maybe it's not a surprise [to me], but for the people that don't know Lando, it will be a surprise for them," Alonso said.

"The things he did were very impressive. The teamwork, the preparation, the focus."

Alonso particularly noted the McLaren junior's skill in the rain, during Daytona's treacherous night.

"At night if you look, when we switched to wet tires for one stint, we were fifth, one minute behind the leader.

"Then we switched to slick tires again in damp conditions - all this with Lando driving - and we were 27 seconds behind the leaders.

"So even in wet conditions, his first time in a prototype, first time in Daytona, first time with Continental tires, he recovered 33 seconds in 20 laps or something like that.

"He is 18 years old, so that is quite impressive..."

While United Autosports LMP2 entries ultimately lacked the speed to challenge for top honours, the team's overall efficiency wasn't lost on Alonso.

"It was amazing teamwork," he admitted.

"First with United Autosports, the package maybe was not as competitive as some other packages out there but we were very fast in the race.

"We were probably easily on the podium, the other car was fighting for the podium and finished P4. That's amazing, what United Autosports can achieve as a team.

"We had too many issues in the race but the mechanics kept focused and they kept motivated all race long. That was a good example of teamwork and dedication."

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