Norris laments missed opportunity: ‘We should have won today’

Lando Norris says McLaren had clearly the quickest car in the Spanish Grand Prix but that his poor start prevented an impressive race from being rewarded with victory.

The polesitter was trying to hold off Max Verstappen after being slightly slower away at the start, when George Russell swept around the pair of them to take the lead. Norris was third at that stage as Verstappen quickly cleared Russell, and his own inability to pass the Mercedes in the first stint led to a gap opening up that proved just too large to erase, as Norris closed in but finished 2.2 seconds behind Verstappen at the flag.

“The race… not good enough, simply because we should have won today,” Norris said. “I think we had the quickest car. But I just lost it at the start, and then I couldn’t get past George for the first stint. 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 then that one thing cost me everything.


“From Turn 2 onwards, 10 out of 10, I don’t think I could have done much more and I think as a team, we did the perfect strategy. I was very happy with what we did. But yeah, the one part of the start wasn’t good enough.”

Norris says Spain is far more frustrating than the missed opportunity in Montreal where McLaren failed to take advantage of a safety car period when the British driver was leading.

“Yeah, for sure, because that was more a decision, an incorrect decision or a lack of decision-making. We were definitely not the quickest car in Montreal, Mercedes was easily the quickest car. Today we were the quickest,” he said. “I had a nice car out there and I didn’t maximize it. The start is down to me and doing what I got told, and executing that. Without that, or with a good start, we easily should have won. “

The final stint saw Norris closing an eight-second deficit to Verstappen at around half a second per lap, and he says he believed he could get close right up until the final laps.

“I was feeling good at that point. It was more, could I close the gap in the amount of laps that I had, which was going to be the bigger question and the question on my mind while driving,” Norris related. “I was comfortable and the pace was very strong at that rate. It wasn’t the longest final stint, so I didn’t know if we were going to get to that time in the stint when I really start to catch.

“The last three laps, the gaps were pretty big in terms of how much it was coming down. It’s a hard one — I don’t know if I maybe pushed too much in the beginning and struggled a bit too much in the end. It’s very difficult to judge these things. Difficult to describe.

“I was confident in the car, which is the main thing — I understood how to drive it and get the most out of it. I think I’m still improving in that area; that’s something I’ve not been super comfortable with, the knowledge of how do I extract the most out of this car.

“This weekend has been a very good step forward, I think. Hopefully I’d love to carry that on into the next few. But I’m confident, and those parts of the race I’m like ‘OK, I have clean air, I can push, and as long as I hopefully get a couple of DRS from backmarkers, hopefully they can help me out a little bit to try and catch.’”

Story originally appeared on Racer