In a striking parallel to the 2021 Monza Grand Prix, Lando Norris found himself overshadowed by his team-mate in the Qatar Sprint Race. Oscar Piastri took the win, leaving Norris angry at his own performance.
“I’ve never been so frustrated with myself,” admitted Norris, despite McLaren’s strong overall performance.
While Piastri claimed his first victory in his rookie year, Norris is still in search of his own. The British driver is well aware that he missed a golden opportunity in Qatar.
“I keep making too many mistakes and it’s annoying,” he lamented.
Grid penalty adds insult to injury
The fact that he was relegated to tenth place on the grid for Sunday’s race due to a track limit violation did little to improve his mood. “Oscar outperformed me this weekend. I’m starting where I deserve to be,” said a self-critical Norris.
Norris’ frustration was compounded by his awareness of the car’s strong performance and the team’s hard work. Despite contributing to a double podium for McLaren, he couldn’t shake his disappointment.
The fact that he sprinted to the podium and was able to celebrate a victory with the team doesn’t interest him at the moment.
“The frustration of the last two days overshadows everything. The negative things outweigh the positive things,” he tells Sky.
“That’s how my head works.”
Too many errors
Norris added that his string of mistakes had nothing to do with the pressure of having a fast team-mate like Piastri.
“It really hurts,” he says contritely. “I messed up this morning and was supposed to be on pole. And yesterday I should have been in first or second place for the race too,” he says.
“It counts this weekend, and I’m making too many mistakes. That annoys me.”
In a weekend marred by his own mistakes, Norris still managed to secure another double podium for McLaren.
“I had my chances to catch up, but I kept losing my rhythm,” he said. While Norris acknowledged Piastri’s outstanding performance, he couldn’t help but feel that his own mistakes were the main story for him.
Norris: “Oscar was just better”
“Oscar was just better and he capitalised on my mistakes,” admitted Norris. Starting from second position on the medium tyres for the Sprint race, he lost four positions at the start.
“It was hard. I basically took advantage of every opportunity to fall behind,” he complains about himself.
“When I caught up with the Ferrari, it had DRS, so I couldn’t catch it on the first lap and lost my rhythm again and couldn’t do what Max did,” he says.
“And then I hit a wet spot in Turn 2 where the guys crashed and fell back again.”
“It just wasn’t my weekend and I made mistakes here and there, but I still fought well,” he continued.
“I didn’t think I would get George [Russell], but the DRS was pretty strong. So I was able to get him from way back into Turn 1 and get another double podium for McLaren.”
Bad weekend… so far
Recognising that even the best have off weekends, Norris admits: “I guess everyone has off weekends and unfortunately this one is mine, especially when the car is performing so well…”
Despite the setback, he remains hopeful for future races where he aims to live up to his and the team’s high expectations.
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