Lando Norris storms home in third place for McLaren

Lando Norris storms home in third place for McLaren

McLaren driver Lando Norris locked down third place in the Emilia Romagna GP, after a solid effort on degrading soft compound tyres.

Lando Norris pulled out all the stops during the second half of the Emilia Romagna GP. Adding another Formula 1 podium to his resume.

After a collision between Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ George Russell instigated a red flag on the session, Norris came out sitting in third place on the restart. In what was a brave move, McLaren opted to put fresh soft tyres on both cars with nearly 30 laps left to run.

Norris was quick to pass the Ferrari of second placed Charles Leclerc once racing recommenced. With the soft tyres proving vital in his early attack. The pace he showed during qualifying held him in good stead. Keeping the pace with Max Verstappen, until the Red Bull driver pulled away from the entire field.

Having to nurse his tyres to avoid what would have a catastrophic pit stop, Norris was able to hold off Leclerc. However, a charging Lewis Hamilton who restarted the race from just inside the top 10, managed to push past Norris to take second place.

“Obviously very happy to get a podium,” Norris said, “A very well-executed race from the team and from myself. I think I drove very well – I made a lot of good decisions – but it wasn’t easy. The beginning of the race was pretty tough. A bit of contact here and there, not a perfect start but I kept my head cool.

“I kept focused throughout because sometimes you know you’ve got to expect the red flags and the Safety Cars and think that more opportunities can come towards you later in the race. So, I kept that in mind and solidly came back through.

“There were a couple of people crashing and making mistakes ahead of me, which is what we’re here to take advantage of, and then we made a good decision at the end to go onto the soft tyres and get ahead of Leclerc.

“We almost held on to P2 but not quite. It was a tough race, but very rewarding for myself and more importantly for the team, so a big thanks to them for bringing new parts, and working so hard on the car back at the factory to make it better every weekend.”

Entering his third year in Formula 1, Norris showed just how far he’s come.  A much more decisive driver, Norris’ ability to go on the offensive, then quickly switch it to defensive mode, has noticeably gone to the next level. His speed has also been impressive through the last two races. With teammate and more experienced driver Daniel Ricciardo asked by the team to move aside and allow Norris through.

The MCL35M under Mercedes power also looks like a general all around good car. Able to carry and maintain speed around much of the track, while remaining drivable and not too twitchy.

After two rounds of the 2021 F1 season, Norris sits third in the Drivers’ Championship, while McLaren is also third in the all important constructors’ standings.

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