Norris: Imola F1 podium still "blows my mind" given McLaren's pace – Motorsport.com

Norris recorded McLaren’s sole podium of the season so far at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix back in April, crossing the line third behind the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.
Norris had qualified third on Friday in wet conditions, less than two-tenths off pole, and finished the Saturday sprint race fifth behind the Red Bull and Ferrari cars.
Looking back on his season so far in an interview with Motorsport.com, Norris admitted that he still found it hard to believe he managed to finish third given the performance level with the McLaren MCL36 car.
“I still don’t know how I got a podium with the car that we had!” said Norris.
“It still blows my mind, considering how much quicker a lot of the other cars were. Like now, when I think of it, I think it’s probably one of my best podiums.
“[In] wet qualifying, it was a pretty awesome lap in quali, but when you see the speed of the Alfa Romeo, it was like, half a second a lap quicker than me in the race. If we did a race of just pure pace, I’d probably be like 15th or something! But I finished on the podium.
“It makes it that bit better. It was good to see that we made some improvements, we were going in the right direction, and that always gives you more motivation, more hope, and it’s something you look forward to in the future.
“That was definitely a good thing, and just good to see that we could turn things around fairly quickly.”
The result came just three races after both McLarens finished outside of the points in the Bahrain season opener, flaring concerns the team could be in for a long season playing catch-up against its midfield rivals.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL36
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Norris has been open about his need to adjust his driving style to accommodate the MCL36, which has also proven difficult for teammate Daniel Ricciardo to get to grips with.
McLaren sits fifth in the constructors’ championship heading into the final nine races of the season, trailing Alpine by just four points.
Although Norris conceded McLaren had been “a bit up and down” so far this year, its form varying from track to track, he was impressed the team had managed to hang on in the fight against Alpine for so long.
“Considering we’re just down to fifth in the championship, that surprises me that somehow we were fourth, with Alpine – I remember Fernando was almost going for pole in Australia,” Norris said.
“Early on in the season, they had a very strong car. Just a lot of people made a lot of mistakes with crashing, [Alonso] had a failure or whatever with the power steering.
“We’ve also done a very good job, disregarding the car. Everything else has been a good step this season, in how everyone is working, with strategy, pitstops. We had three fastest pitstops in the first four races or something. In other areas where we can continue to improve, I think we’ve done a very good job.
“That also makes me happy and gives me good belief that as a team, we’re heading in the right direction. It’s just the very, very tricky bit which is the car that is not going as quickly as what we’d want.”
Why Mercedes steered clear of an F1 car concept revamp despite early struggles
Tsunoda gives himself 7/10 for start to F1 2022 season
Wolff: Mercedes bounced “from depression to exuberance” in F1 2022
Why Mercedes steered clear of an F1 car concept revamp despite early struggles
Connecting two of Ferrari’s favourite F1 sons: Villeneuve and Leclerc
Norris had to adjust to 2022 McLaren F1 car that was “very unsuited for me”
Norris: Russell pole not a surprise given strong Mercedes
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season
Could late rule changes to F1 2023 floors aid bigger teams?
The FIA World Motor Sport Council finally pushed through rule changes to address porpoising for the 2023 Formula 1 season, amid suggestions the late alterations will help bigger teams.
Wolff: Mercedes bounced “from depression to exuberance” in F1 2022
Toto Wolff says the ranging emotions through Mercedes’ Formula 1 season so far has been “painful” at times, bouncing from “depression to exuberance” through its 2022 car struggles. 
Binotto exclusive: “Each single day” is difficult but Ferrari F1 is united
It’s fair to say that the 2022 Formula 1 season has delivered both the best of times and the worst of times for Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto. 
Lundgaard: Vettel could expect “tough transition” to IndyCar
Rahal Letterman Lanigan’s Christian Lundgaard said that four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel would face a hard task adapting to the demands of IndyCar if he wished to make the switch.
Nicholas Latifi: The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future
Personable, articulate and devoid of the usual racing driver airs and graces, Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes
Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1
Gordon Murray’s Brabham BT46B ‘fan car’ was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?
Hamilton’s first experience of turning silver into gold
The seven-time F1 champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24. And now it’s happening again at his current team
Why few would blame Leclerc if he leaves Ferrari in future
OPINION: Ferrari’s numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere – just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior.
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez’s path to a top F1 seat
After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay
Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…
Could F1 move to a future beyond carbon fibre?
Formula 1 has ambitious goals for improving its carbon footprint, but could this include banishing its favoured composite material? Pat Symonds considers the alternatives to carbon fibre and what use, if any, those materials have in a Formula 1 setting


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like