Norris rues poor start that 'ruined everything' in Spain

© XPB 

Lando Norris felt that should have won today's Spanish Grand Prix rather than finish in P2, if only he had managed to pull off a cleaner start to the race on Sunday.

Norris fought to stay ahead of Max Verstappen in the long run down to the first corner at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, even sweeping Verstappen onto the grass verge when the Red Bull attempted to pass him.

But in the end Norris was forced to concede the position - and while they had been fighting it out between then, both he and Verstappen had been passed by Mercedes' George Russell.

Norris felt that without that setback at the start of the race he would have been able to control the race and keep a lid on Verstappen to claim what would have been his second Grand Prix race win after Miami.

“I got a bad start, simple as that," he lamented in the post-race parc ferme interview. "I just lost it in the beginning. I need to look back and review

"“ don’t know what I did wrong, or if I was just slightly out. It was only a little bit to Max that I lost; it wasn’t like he was completely alongside, it’s more that George was suddenly outside and kind of had me over.

“It wasn’t like it was a bad start, it was two metres," he corrected himself. “It wasn’t the best start but I didn’t think it was a bad start. Max just got there. I couldn’t cover him, and that was it.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38. 23.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Charniaux / XPB Images

“A shame that such a small margin cost us," he sighed. Nowadays, when it’s so close, one or two metres generally makes a difference whether you can win a race like today, or I don’t win a race.

“From George’s side? George had such good slipstream. “George’s slipstream passed both of us!" he said of Russell's move. “The cars are getting more and more draggy in some ways, there is more and more downforce in an efficient way.

“Even if you took me out of it, George still would have got past Max. That’s the crazy part of it all," he conceded. “The overtaking, the following, the dirty air - that cost me the win today,.

"Not good, I should have [won the race]," he continued. "The car was incredible today. I think we were for sure the quickest. Big thanks to the team, because the car was amazing.

(L to R): Race winner Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing in parc ferme with second placed Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren. 23.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

“Today we had the opportunity to win [and] those are opportunities that we can’t miss out on," he said. “Whether or not we had the best package, or we didn’t - today we should have won the race, but we didn’t.

“I'm disappointed, but there are a lot of positives," he acknowledged. "But one negative, and that kind of ruined everything. I know that I can just work on it for next time."

Norris kept the pressure up with an aggressive tyre strategy that nearly paid off, and he was only 2.2 behind Verstappen when the pair reached the finish line.

While he didn't get his second win, finishing P2 in today's race did mean "a good amount of points" which has promoted him to second place in the drivers championship ahead of Ferrari's Charles Leclerc.

“I don’t care what position it is, it’s the gap to first that I care about," he told Sky Sports F1. “That is bigger today.

Lando Norris (GBR) McLaren MCL38. 23.06.2024. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 10, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Race Day. -, EMail: © Copyright: Batchelor / XPB Images

"I’m frustrated because I didn’t just lose a race to someone, I lost it to Max - and he’s the leader of the championship," he said. “He’s doing a good job. I can’t fault him.

“If it’s like this every weekend, I need something more," he admitted. “I need Max to not finish second, or do as good as he’s doing at the minute.

And he had every expectation of keeping the momentum going into the next two races which have been happy hunting grounds for him in the past.

“Austria and Silverstone are two of my favourite tracks in terms of performances and where I perform well at,” he agreed. “I'm excited. We're on a good role. We're doing well, I need to just tidy up a few little bits and I'll be on top.

“We have what we need. I have what I need. The team has what they need."

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