Norris says Italian GP was 'damage limitation' race for McLaren


Lando Norris says his Italian Grand Prix was, as expected, a damage limitation race for McLaren, but it was one in which he actually achieved a better result than initially expected.

Norris launched his race from P9, two spots behind McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri, but was able to gain an immediate upper hand over the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.

The trio ran together until lap 21 when Norris undertook his single pitstop which later allowed him to undercut Piastri, the pair fortunately avoiding a proper McLaren wipe-out when the Aussie tagged his teammate at the chicane right his exit from the pits.

But thereafter, Norris was unable to overhaul the Williams of Alex Albon, with the latter fully exploiting his car's strong straight-line speed to keep the McLaren driver at bay.

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In the end, P8 at the checkered flag hot on Albon's heels was a result that slightly exceeded Norris' expectations.

"At times we were expecting not to even be in the points, so I'm happy with it [the result]. I think it was a damage limitation," he said after the race.

Norris said his performance also validated the progress achieved by McLaren on low-downforce tracks.

"At the same time, good to see progress be made on the low downforce circuits," he added.

"I know there wasn't a lot [of new parts] and a bit of it is just things you have from last year and trying to optimise them for here.

"But we made some good improvements and it was a race-able car, which is a good step forward. There's only one more low downforce track this season."

Norris crossed the checkered flag just 0.132s behind Albon, and the Briton was quick to underline the Williams driver's efforts to keep him behind in the closing stages of the race.

"He didn't make any mistakes, which is annoying. But I tried, we had good battles," said the McLren charger.

"I'm still happy. Tough because of the Williams maybe not allowing us to get as many points as we I think could have achieved."

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