“It is frustrating and unfair” — Norris on Sainz getting his P3 grid spot back for F1 Monaco GP restart

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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After a race significantly influenced by an early red flag and tyre management strategies, Lando Norris ended the Monaco Grand Prix in fourth place, adding another twelve points to his tally in the Drivers’ Championship.

Norris was asked about the role that strategy had played in the outcome of his race, with particular reference being made to Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz backing him up to reduce the time gap between Norris and fifth-place George Russell of Mercedes.

The Briton, however, stated that he did not think that Sainz’s decision had any significant effect on his race, admitting that he did not think that there would have been any change in the result as Sainz had had more pace.

“Honestly, I don’t think that would have changed anything. It is what it is. Carlos had way more pace every time he wanted to push so I don’t think it really changed anything.”

“Just never the most exciting race,” the P4-finisher added, before describing the race as mentally draining as the race still required him to push, though to a much lower level.

“Mentally it’s still draining and you’re still pushing, you’re just pushing to a much lower limit.”

The McLaren driver described the race as being “not the most complicated”, adding that the lack of pit stops following the race restart had resulted in the teams focusing on managing their hard tyres rather than on any other strategy.

He stated that he thought that “maybe something could have come of [the pit stops] had there been any by the top 4 drivers. Norris’ McLaren, like Ferrari, started the race on the medium-compound tyres, but changed to the hard-compound tyres during the first-lap red flag. The drivers carried these hard tyres to the end of the race.

“A bit of a shame, we had no strategy to accomplish – it was just hard tyres until the end. At least if there were some pit stops maybe something could have come of it, but [there] never was.”

Norris, however, did feel that Sainz was extremely fortunate to regain his P3 spot on the restart following his touch with Piastri at turn 1 after the original standing start. Zhou Guanyu had not reached the end of the first sector when the red flag was thrown.

“I don’t think it’s the most fair thing, but I’m sure there’s been moments in the past where maybe I’ve been fortunate from it and they could have they fixed the car a little bit or something like that.

“When you think of it in just a blunt way, it is frustrating and unfair, that because someone makes a mistake and because of a certain amount of cars or whatever, whatever the rule is, didn’t cross the line before the red flag and blah, blah, that he gets to undo that mistake and gets a free pit stop. It’s unfair.”

Despite the race not being “complicated”, Norris stated that it had been a pleasure to drive at the Monaco Grand Prix and added that McLaren had had “great” results with Norris and teammate Oscar Piastri finishing fourth and second respectively.

“Not the most complicated and so forth, but always a pleasure to drive around here, and I think a great result for us as a team still with a second and fourth.”

Norris’ P4 finish at the Monaco Grand Prix sees him move up to third place in the Drivers’ Championship standings, moving ahead of Red Bull’s Sergio Pérez whose race ended early after the first lap collision between himself, and Haas drivers, Nico Hülkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

The 24-year-old also finished two places ahead of current Drivers’ Championship leader Max Verstappen, of Red Bull, reducing the gap between himself and Verstappen to 56 points.

In light of this, Norris was asked whether his recent consistency in recent races had improved the team’s confidence in their race-performance ability. Norris agreed that it had, stating that the team gained more confidence with every race.

He also praised his team which he described as “doing a fantastic job” and stated that they were “up there” with the likes of Red Bull and Ferrari.

“We are, and I think every race we do we gain more confidence in that kind of thing.”

“The team are doing a fantastic job, we were ahead of Red Bull this weekend clearly but maybe a little bit behind Ferrari. But at the end of the day, Ferrari are doing a good job. We’re up there, we’re in with a chance in case something happens.”

He added that he hoped that the team would continue their good performance, to “keep chipping away” at the leads of Red Bull and Ferrari in the constructors’ championship. Currently, McLaren sits third in the Constructors’ Championship with 184 points, 92 behind leaders, Red Bull, and 68 behind second-place Ferrari.

“So we’re still there, we’re still getting a lot of points and still a big points haul for today, so we’re happy with that. I’ll just keep pushing, because I think everyone’s doing a very good job. We’ll keep at it, the team are doing amazing and hopefully we can keep chipping away.”