Lando Norris: McLaren easily had the best car at Spanish GP

A poor start denied Lando Norris Spanish GP victory as he once against finished behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen

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Lando Norris believes Spanish GP victory should have been his as McLaren had the best car in Barcelona, but he needed to produce a better start after dropping from pole position to third and was unable recover enough ground to catch eventual winner Max Verstappen.

Norris forced Verstappen onto the grass at the start of the race after a poor getaway but was handicapped at the first turn by George Russell‘s slingshot around the outside and into the lead, which cramped the McLaren‘s defence against the Dutchman and pushed him into third.

Norris pitted from the lead in the final stages of the race and closed to 2.2 seconds behind Verstappen but ran out of laps and wasn’t able to attempt an overtake, in a finish reminiscent of the Emilia Romagna GP a month ago.

“The race, not good enough simply because we should have won today,” Norris told members of the press including Total-Motorsport.com. “I think we’re the quickest car but I just lost it at the start and then I couldn’t get past George for the first stint.

“So I think we quite easily had the best car out there today, I just didn’t do a good enough job off the line and that one thing cost me everything. So from turn two onwards, 10 out of 10 I didn’t think I could have done much more.

“And I think as a team, we did a perfect strategy and I was very happy with what we did. But yeah, the one part of the start that 1% elsewhere wasn’t good enough.”

Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the 2024 Spanish GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool
Max Verstappen, Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the 2024 Spanish GP | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Norris at a loss to explain failure at lights out

With Norris just a couple of seconds behind the lead Red Bull, his McLaren teammate Oscar Piastri finished 26 seconds up the road from Sergio Perez which adds credence to Norris‘ assertion that the MCL38 was the dominant machine in Barcelona.

However, Norris also seemed to backtrack somewhat by saying Russell would’ve scuppered his defence of Verstappen at turn one regardless of his own launch from pole, with Norris finishing behind victorious Verstappen for the third time in four races.

“I don’t know anything more apart from Max got alongside me,” Norris added. “And if George wasn’t there I think I still could’ve kept on to first around turn one.

“But George had a run on both of us there so even if my start was one or two metres better, which was all I probably could have done, just the long run down to turn one and the slipstream from the Mercedes on Max and myself was more than anything that I could have done.”

“I almost think George would have led no matter what even if my start was two metres better, in some ways that’s what happens in Barcelona and George had a good start, and I couldn’t do anything about that.

“And so I had to take third and turn to because if I brake two metres later I would’ve taken everyone out with me. So I made the correct decision of backing out and kind of letting George have it, I need to sit down with my engineers and talk.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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