F1 | US GP | Lando Norris "very happy" with P6 after "tough" race, hails Alonso as "the most fair and respectful" racer on the grid
The McLaren driver starred again as he stormed through the pack in the closing stages.
Lando Norris continued his extremely impressive run in 2022 as he finished as best of the rest behind the top three teams at the United States Grand Prix.
His 6th place finish did come with some luck thanks to Sebastian Vettel’s bad luck in the pits, but he certainly grabbed the opportunity that came his way.
With three races + a sprint to go, he sits thirty points ahead of Esteban Ocon in the fight for P7 in the Drivers' Championship.
“I mean it was good, obviously,” Norris said when asked about his day. “A tough race, we just got very unlucky with many things.
“The incident in turn 1 with Carlos [Sainz], I lost two or three positions because I had to avoid which is just unlucky. And then things were going well, and then we had a Safety Car. Fernando and a few cars got to overcut me.
“But it was a fun race after that, especially the final stint to go from P12 or something to P6 was tough but enjoyable, especially knowing there was a chance to get Fernando with a few laps to go.
“Everything had to be perfect. I couldn’t make any mistakes which I didn’t. Well executed.
“The car was reasonable, maybe not the most comfortable, but good enough to push it to a good limit and finish where we finished. Very happy with today.”
Norris pitted for a second time with just over 20 laps to go. He rejoined in P15 and even points did not look certain at that point. That became 12th after Ocon, Latifi and Ricciardo pitted.
A brilliant late race charge saw him overtake Tsunoda, Guanyu, Albon, Latifi and Alonso in the last 15 laps to get eight valuable points for his team in their Constructors’ Championship battle versus Alpine.
Norris explained his chase of Alonso, and he was full of praise for the Spaniard’s driving.
“I thought more people would box,” he stated. “So when he [Norris’ race engineer] said like 20 laps to go, I am like 18 [seconds] behind Fernando, I was like ‘oh no’. I didn’t think it would be possible to do, especially because I had to overtake like four other cars.
“DRS was huge today with such a big headwind down the back straight. As soon as you had DRS, you could gain six tenths or something, or even more on one lap. It helped me and made my life a little bit easier.
“I think if I made one or two more mistakes it wouldn’t have been possible. Even when I got to him it wasn’t like I went straight past. I got stuck, and he actually pulled away a bit. Then he made one mistake in turn 11, and I managed to get past him there.
“We had some close moments. I looked in my mirror and looked like we were going to make some contact. But if there’s one guy I trust more than anyone on track it’s Fernando at the end of the day.
“He’s the last guy I want to race against with two laps to go, but [he's] also the most fair and respectful. That was good.”
Norris admitted post-race that he was taking headache tablets because of the severe bumps around COTA.
“There is so many bumps – I was heavily dosed up on headache tablets, because I struggled a lot with that this weekend,” the Brit stated. “I think I’ve got internal bruising on my head or something. It’s really not nice.
“I don’t know whether if it’s better or worse for us than other cars, but it’s something I struggle a lot with. When I take the tablets it probably doesn’t make a big difference in the end.”
Ooft. That'll take some mending. 😉🤕— McLaren (@McLarenF1) October 23, 2022
Lando drove the final 33 laps with this damage to his car today. 👏#USGP 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/lhshp2l42q