Lando Norris secured a solid P4 result at the Singapore Grand Prix, after finishing outside the top five in the last 12 consecutive races since his podium in Imola. The Brit also admitted that the race in Singapore was the most difficult he has ever driven due to the level of focus it required to navigate through the challenging Marina Bay Circuit.
All three practice sessions leading up to qualifying presented challenges for the McLaren driver- P19 in FP1, P11 in FP2, and P16 in FP3. And although Norris managed to put together a solid lap in qualifying that secured him a P6 spot on the starting grid, the 22-yer old driver was surprised at his P4 finish after his previous disappointing practice results .
Speaking to media after the race, Norris expressed how surprising it was to deliver a P4 result after the difficult practice sessions and praised the team for helping teammate Daniel Ricciardo achieve a strong P5.
“No, I mean, I'm not going to lie. Friday looked like one of our worst weekends so far. And I think on pace, we were still a mile off. Not in conditions like today, I think we just did a very good job, myself and the strategy team,” Norris said.
“Somehow, yeah, that's the last thing we expected after FP1 and on Friday. So, I mean, I think we were in for P4 that whole time. Lewis (Hamilton) crashed on his own, Max (Verstappen) went straight past me. So we were fighting for P4.
"So it was a fun race like probably one of the most difficult races I've done in Formula 1 just because of the level of concentration needed and clearly how it easy was to make mistakes, you know, and lock up and go wide, whatever.
“Yeah, amazing. Even more so for Daniel and the strategy from their side to get him up to fifth on a day when our competitors didn't score any points.
“I feel like I drove a very good race and smart race today. And it paid off for both myself and for Daniel too. So fourth and fifth was a much higher expectation.”
Under the changing weather conditions, Alpine showed a stronger pace to McLaren and Norris believed that both Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon would end the race in higher position than himself and teammate Ricciardo.
“But Alpine were at least half a second quicker in complete wet conditions, or completely dry conditions. Maybe even more than that. Yeah, we're expecting the opposite. We're expecting them to be in P4, P5 or P6 six and us to maybe not even finish the points and it ended up being the other way around. So a pleasant surprise,” Norris sated.
After Alpine drivers Alonso and Ocon suffered a DNF during the race , Mclaren was able to capitalize on the Endstone-based team’s misfortune and gain a four point lead over them in the constructors' championship.
While both Norris and Ricciardo have struggled with their performance and adjusting to the MCL36 under the new regulations this season. And after a promising top five result from both McLaren drivers, Norris says it feels rewarding.
“I mean, I guess from like a driver side, it's very rewarding, like the day like today, getting Fernando off the line are super important. So good job by myself and the good start that I got. But it always makes it sweeter when you know you have a car, which is simply not as great. And you finished ahead of them or you're ahead of them on merit again. So it makes it better.
“And it's very tough, though at the same the same time when you know you don't have a car which is anywhere near as quick as it's hard to kind of keep that motivation and keep pushing, thinking you might have a chance at some point."