Hamilton and Norris battled for second position during the first stint of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, following the controversial episode with Sergio Perez which saw the McLaren driver push the Red Bull driver into the gravel. incurring a five second penalty.
After Norris held his own against Hamilton for 15 laps, more than he did during the previous Styrian Grand Prix with Valtteri Bottas and Perez himself, the world champion opened up on the radio and said “great driver, Lando” after managing to complete the overtaking.
Norris ultimately managed to overtake Hamilton when the Mercedes driver damaged his W12 by passing too aggressively on a curb, but still finished the race in third place, behind winner Max Verstappen and Bottas, who had it. passed at the pit stop, taking advantage of his 5 “penalty.
When Motorsport.com asked him how he felt battling Mercedes and Red Bull, as well as compliments from Hamilton, Norris said: “Thank you, I really don’t know what to say.”
“It was tough, it wasn’t easy. In the first stint I think both Mercedes were faster than me, and this wasn’t a surprise, the real surprise was being able to keep them at bay for so long. But it was the first time I really fought with them. “
Norris then explained that for the first time he had the opportunity to observe Lewis Hamilton closely and closely, thanks to a McLaren that had one of the best weekends in its recent history, allowing him to go to the front row next to Verstappen.
Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
The Woking team managed to take a step forward between the two races in Austria, even if already in the Styrian GP it had shown excellent potential, allowing Lando to start third and finish fifth.
McLaren took advantage of its car’s excellent straight-line speed and corner exit traction, as well as upgrades to the bottom of the MCL35M, as well as optimizing both set-up and race strategy.
“You can learn from how he drives and how he runs, but also from Valtteri. When it comes to taking risks and things like that,” Norris said. “As much as I appreciate his kind words, it’s not like he’s driving perfectly.”
“There were times when he went wide at Turn 1 or made mistakes at Turn 3. It’s not impossible to race with them, but you get there when the car lets you do it and you realize you have a chance against. their”.
“It’s hard to tell when you’re not actually battling them. Normally they’re way ahead of me, so it was nice.”
“It is a great feeling to race not only against Lewis, but also against Valtteri, Max and Sergio. To be in that group and to say that we are fighting for the podium because our pace is up to it was a really good feeling.”