Norris: Quick overtakes and ‘staying out of trouble’ key to Mexico P5


A spirited drive by Lando Norris in the Mexican Grand Prix saw the McLaren driver battle his way from P17 on the grid to P5 at the checkered flag and execute some spectacular overtakes over “some quick guys” along the way.

A botched qualifying session on Saturday left Norris with his work cut out for him in Sunday’s race.

In a bid to boost his chances, McLaren opted to start the Briton on a set of soft tyres while most of his rivals launched their race on the hards.

The strategy was ditched after just ten laps, but a switch to the hard had carried Norris into the top-ten when a red flag caused by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen was brandished on lap 34 of 71.

The restart signaled a new race which Norris started on the medium tyre. But from tenth, the McLaren driver dropped to P14 amid the commotion of the opening lap. But steady progress ensued thereafter which saw the Briton fight his way back into the top-ten.

From there, he continued his forward march, dispatching his rivals with decisive and precise moves and eventually concluding his afternoon a remarkable fifth in the running order, earning himself another 'Driver of the Day' award from F1 fans.

"It's very special," said Norris. "It wasn't from 20th to 10th. It was from 14th to fifth. It was against George and Alex [Albon] and Oscar [Piastri] and Daniel.

“So, it was against some quick guys and smart guys.

"But I played it all well, I played the overtakes well, I put them into awkward positions, and I managed to get past them all very quickly, which allowed me to end up in P5."

Norris said that steering clear of trouble and flashpoints out on the track had paid good dividends.

"My main thing was just staying out of trouble. And it all paid off,” he added.

“So, it's enjoyable racing like this, and I wish I could be a little bit further up. I think we could have challenged for some silverware."

Asked which overtake he enjoyed the most, Norris pointed to his tussle with his former McLaren teammate Daniel Riccardo.

"Probably the one on Daniel...he's the late braker! We must have been very, very close. I braked earlier than I think he thought I would. So, then he braked and I just got off the brake and got him on the outside.

"Whenever you're doing these overtakes, and having to prepare exits and all of it, you enjoy the whole thing, so I don't really mind who it is. It's just they're all good."

Queried on his poor launch and opening lap on the race’s restart, Norris blamed his tyre preparation for the setback.

"The restart is tough," he said. "We just didn't get it right. My first start was good, but the second one not so good.

"I think we struggled a little bit too much with the power unit temperatures and things like that, so I couldn't get the tyres and things in the correct window for the restart.

"I paid the price a little bit. I then had to avoid some incident, and I had to back out quite a bit down the straight, which could have gone a lot worse.

"But after that, I just stayed calm and got the tyres in a good window and went from there. It was enjoyable, I didn't think I'd get back to P5. So encouraging pace from the car."

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