Lando Norris admits poor start denied him victory at Spanish GP

Lando Norris admits poor start denied him victory at Spanish GP

Lando Norris believes he should have won the Spanish Grand Prix if only he had been able to pull off a better start to Sunday’s race.

McLaren’s Lando Norris acknowledged he was fully responsible for losing his chance to win the Spanish Grand Prix after finishing second behind Max Verstappen, however, he underlined he remains in contention for the world championship title this year.

The British driver started from pole position but fell to third behind the Mercedes of George ­Russell and the Red Bull of ­Verstappen after being passed on the run to turn one.

This cost him the position and momentum on the track, and despite his best efforts to maintain his charge with an aggressive tyre strategy that almost worked, he was unable to recover before the finish line, finishing 2.2 seconds behind the reigning world champion.

Despite the early mishap, Norris believes he had the capacity to maintain control of the race and hold off Verstappen to win what would have been his second Grand Prix race following Miami.

“I got a bad start, simple as that,” he said in the post-race interview. “I just lost it in the beginning.

“I need to look back and review. Don’t know what I did wrong, or if I was just slightly out. It was only a little bit to Max that I lost; it wasn’t like he was completely alongside, it’s more that George was suddenly outside and kind of had me over.

“It wasn’t like it was a bad start, it was two metres. It wasn’t the best start but I didn’t think it was a bad start. Max just got there. I couldn’t cover him, and that was it.”

Although McLaren is currently trailing Red Bull in terms of pace, Norris stated that he believes the team could still contend for the championship, but added he and his team needed to improve on strategy execution moving forward.

“A shame that such a small margin cost us,” the 24-year old added. “Nowadays, when it’s so close, one or two metres generally makes a difference whether you can win a race like today, or I don’t win a race.

“From George’s side? George had such good slipstream. George’s slipstream passed both of us! The cars are getting more and more draggy in some ways, there is more and more downforce in an efficient way.

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“Even if you took me out of it, George still would have got past Max. That’s the crazy part of it all. The overtaking, the following, the dirty air – that cost me the win today,.

“Not good, I should have [won the race],” he continued. “The car was incredible today. I think we were for sure the quickest. Big thanks to the team, because the car was amazing.

“Today we had the opportunity to win [and] those are opportunities that we can’t miss out on. Whether or not we had the best package, or we didn’t – today we should have won the race, but we didn’t.”

Although Norris didn’t win his second race, he secured a good number of points by finishing in second place on Sunday, propelling him up to second place in the drivers’ championship ahead of Charles Leclerc with 14 races left.

“I’m disappointed, but there are a lot of positives,” he acknowledged. “I know that I can just work on it for next time.

“I don’t care what position it is, it’s the gap to first that I care about. That is bigger today.

“I’m frustrated because I didn’t just lose a race to someone, I lost it to Max – and he’s the leader of the championship. He’s doing a good job. I can’t fault him.

“If it’s like this every weekend, I need something more. I need Max to not finish second, or do as good as he’s doing at the minute.

Norris also expects to maintain the momentum going into the next two races, which have previously proven to favour his driving style.

“Austria and Silverstone are two of my favourite tracks in terms of performances and where I perform well at,” he said.

“I’m excited. We’re on a good role. We’re doing well, I need to just tidy up a few little bits and I’ll be on top.”

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