Lando Norris believes he might have been too conservative at the start of the Sprint and that cost him the lead at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
The McLaren driver qualified on pole for the Sprint race but after getting a better initial launch than Max Verstappen it was the Red Bull that soon pulled alongside to take the lead into Turn 1. Norris also lost out to George Russell on the opening lap before recovering to finish second, and he thinks he was too cautious as part of the start phase.
“I have to review it, it’s something to look back on to,” Norris said. “My initial start was good but the second phase of the launch… maybe I was just a bit conservative. I don’t think I had any wheelspin. I was just a little bit on the safe side.
“Obviously not what I wanted and then always difficult to manage the tires as much as you want when you’re in second, but still a good race. It was still good fun. I was caught sleeping a little bit with George. He was pushing a lot on the opening couple of laps and I feel like maybe he paid the price quite heavily on lap three and four and five and six and seven and eight, all the way to the end.
“I tried then to get into the DRS of Max. I thought if I had an opportunity, I would try and get it early on, so I could kind of control the race a little bit more from out front and in some cleaner air. I never quite got close enough and I struggled just a little bit too much, especially in the last five laps of the race, to look after the tires as much as Max was able to do. Nevertheless a strong race and good points.”
Starting from sixth on Sunday, Norris says the higher level of tire degradation doesn’t concern him despite having to fight through if he wants to finish on the podium.
“No, I’m not concerned,” he said. “If anything, encouraged a lot with how good our pace was today. We’re not fighting necessarily Max. I think we’re talking about competing against one of the best drivers in one of the best cars that’s ever been in Formula 1.
“We’re not going to be suddenly fighting a Red Bull in a track which we almost didn’t expect to be as good as it has been again. Many good surprises and a lot of positives for us. Of course, tomorrow, I’ll try again but I’ll have to do a bit more overtaking.”