Lando Norris has had a brilliant start of the season so far, consistently ending in the top five and snatching a podium at Imola. After qualifying in P7, he managed to reach P5, with some good overtakes on Ocon and Perez. Considering his teammate Daniel Ricciardo's redemption run from P16 to P9, McLaren is the only team in 2021 to have had both drivers finishing in the points in every race.
Norris was satisfied with his performance, which allows him to keep his third place in the drivers' championship, even though he would have liked to keep Perez behind him:
"A very good job, by myself, by the whole team with the pit stops and everything. It was as good as we could do; the [Mercedes and Red Bulls] were way too far ahead of us today. We tried, and I even got ahead of Perez. If I’d had the pace to stay there, that would have been ideal, but I didn’t so I had to look after my own race, manage my own expectations and know who I’m actually racing against."
He rather enjoyed the first part of the race, battling for his position, while later on he had to pay more attention to tyre management: "But it was a lot of fun, the first half… the battling, the racing was difficult but what we enjoy. The second half was a lot more stressful keeping Charles behind and managing the medium tyres as well, so a race of two halves.”
McLaren is currently in third position in the constructor championship too, with an 11 points advantage on Ferrari in p4. Norris is glad that the car looks improved since last season, but warns that there's still much work to do: “I think the fact we were good here gives us some good confidence for other tracks for sure. We definitely struggled a bit here last year, so it’s nice to see some of the improvements we made."
"Yesterday we maybe struggled a little bit more than we were expecting, or maybe more today we did a little bit better than we were expecting, but the car felt good," he added.
The British driver also said that, while the rear of the car doesn't feel perfectly, he's please with the race pace he had:“It was still not easy to drive, still quite tail-happy a lot of the time, especially when it gets windy, but we’ve obviously made a lot of progress, and compared to the other guys, we had very good pace. So I’m happy, but it wasn’t like it was easy. Charles was pushing me a lot for the whole [final] stint."
Norris concluded that, while the team's performance has been great so far, this isn't the moment to relax: "So we’ve still got work to do to make my life easier, which is always nice, but we’ll keep pushing.”