Norris felt he could have split Ferraris in Melbourne

Lando Norris believes he should have finished ahead of Charles Leclerc in the Australian Grand Prix after ending up third behind the two Ferraris.

Carlos Sainz took a relatively comfortable victory after overtaking Max Verstappen prior to the Red Bull’s early retirement, with Norris running second to Sainz at the time. However, Ferrari stopped Leclerc earlier than Norris at the end of the first stint and used the undercut to get ahead, also covering off a McLaren response later on and securing a one-two finish.

“I think when you take the Red Bull out of it I would say, no [a podium was not unexpected],” Norris said. “I think our pace has been good all weekend. We put things together very nicely [in qualifying]. We showed a good long run and high-fuel pace on Friday. So I wouldn’t have said we had no chance.


“I didn’t expect probably us to be competing against the Ferraris. I think our pace was not as good as Carlos, but probably better than Charles. So I think if I was being honest we maybe missed out a little bit on an opportunity to be P2. But yeah, for us to say that is a good sign. And I think it’s a good positive for the whole team.

“It’s a good boost. It’s nice to be back on the podium. Whether or not the Red Bull was there or not our pace was good and hopefully that continues for more races.”

Expanding on where he feels McLaren could have reacted differently, Norris says an earlier second pit stop to try and regain track position was the only likely move that would have succeeded.

“I mean, we didn’t leave anything on the table but the lap we were going to undercut, he boxed. So then again you have to go off and do kind of a different strategy. We got close in the second stint. I got very close. If I boxed, I think I would have undercut. But he boxed, so I missed that opportunity.

“So you always think, what happens if we did it one lap earlier? But it’s tough to make all those decisions at the time. And it can easily go wrong at the same time. There are always consequences of doing so.

“I think we still did a very good job. Third and fourth for us, as a team, is positive and a good load of points. But they were clearly a better team, and they have a better car at the minute. So whether or not we could beat them, they have a better car, they have a quicker car, and we have to work harder until we can match what they’re doing.”

Story originally appeared on Racer