Norris frustrated with single point in Sao Paulo

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M runs wide with a puncture after contact with Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-21 (Right) at the start of the race. 14.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo
© XPB 

Lando Norris was disappointed to leave Brazil having scored just a single point in Sunday's Sao Paulo Grand Prix at Interlagos.

The McLaren driver, who celebrated his 22nd birthday in the paddock this weekend, started the race from fifth place on the grid but tangled with his old team mate Carlos Sainz - now at Ferrari - in the run down to the first corner.

It left Norris with a puncture to his left rear tyre, forcing him to limp back to pit lane for a replacement set which dropped him to the back of the field and 37 seconds behind backmarker Kimi Raikkonen who'd started from pit lane..

“A disappointing day for all of us as a team, as well as for myself," he said. "I had a really good start and as I tried to come back onto the track there just wasn’t enough room and I ended up getting the puncture."

Norris insisted that there was "nothing much" he could do about turning across the front of the Ferrari when he did.

“I mean, I had to start turning left for the corner and the guy on the inside also knows that," he argued. "If I’m a bit on the right side I’m going to be coming back on at some point.

“I’ve gone to the right, there was a gap, I had a much better start – miles better start!" he continued. "I can’t just keep looking in my mirrors the whole time, and I can’t see it from above where I am.

"You have to respect each other, right? he added. "I put my car in the best place I thought I could. I don’t want to crash, so I thought I would need space, but it wasn’t enough.”

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M makes a pit stop. 14.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo

Sainz escaped with damage to his car, and the race stewards deemed the contact a racing incident with no need for further investigation or action. However Sainz did drop a place to his team mate Charles Leclerc and finished the race in sixth.

A subsequent safety car helped Norris catch the pack in time for the restart and he went on to battle his way back to the points in tenth place, his second single-digit score in consecutive outings.

Moreover with team mate Daniel Ricciardo failing to finish due to a power unit failure, a single point for McLaren means they've now fallen 31.5 points behind Ferrari in the constructors standings with just three races remaining in 2021.

“It’s frustrating because I scored one point and could have scored quite a few more today,” he admitted. "It’s better than nothing - it might count in the end of the season, it might not - but we did our best.

“We could have given a good battle throughout the whole stint, so it could have been a lot more today, but it wasn’t. I guess that’s why I’m unhappy.

Nikita Mazepin (RUS) Haas F1 Team VF-21 and Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL35M. 14.11.2021. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo

"Probably Ferrari was still quicker than us today, but I would have been ahead of them at the start and I reckon they would have had to fight for it quite a bit," he said. "[The contact] benefited them a lot more than us, in the long term.

"The fight back through was good, managing to score a point, which is better than nothing. I think that’s the best we could’ve done today after what happened," he added. "We’ll review it and try to do a better job next time."

Norris pointed out that McLaren had still shown good pace in Sao Paulo, and would continue to fight hard for the remaining races of the season.

"There’s a few more tracks coming up which I’m hoping will suit our car quite a bit more than here and the previous few races," he said.

"But Ferrari are strong, and - don’t get me wrong - they probably have a stronger package altogether at the moment," he admitted. "It’s going to be difficult [to catch them] unless they make any big mistakes, but we’ll try.

"We’ll keep pushing. We could have beaten them today. Even when we didn’t have a car quite as quick, I’m sure there’s definitely more opportunities [to come]."

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