Lando Norris leaves Monza “happy” after his “damage limitation” F1 Italian GP

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Photo Credit: McLaren Racing

Lando Norris left Monza with 4 points having witnessed a defensive masterclass from Alex Albon and survived a heart in the mouth moment when he made contact with his teammate Oscar Piastri. Even so, Norris said he was still happy with his race and some good improvements have resulted in ‘a raceable car which was a good step forward.’


Lando Norris started Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix from P9 and crossed the finish line having improved by one position to P8. The thorn in the British racer’s side for the majority of Sunday’s race was Williams Racing’s Alex Albon who yet again mastered his tyre degradation and was a defensive force to be reckoned with. Norris shared his thoughts on the race-long duel which saw Albon remain in front of him up to the flag.


“A good race. I think the pace was strong today. It was just very difficult to overtake, as usual, but when we didn’t have to overtake, the pace was good. We could pressure Alex the whole race, but he did a very good job, so hats off to him and Williams, they were quick this weekend and managed to stay ahead,” stated Norris.


McLaren is celebrating 60 years of motorsport and in their illustrious history there have been many moments where an intense battle between teammates has hit the headlines. The rivalries of Alain Prost/Ayrton Senna and Lewis Hamilton/Fernando Alonso are legendary but sometimes for the wrong reason. Due to this, McLaren know very well the internal damage that overly competitive teammates can cause.


Having seen Oscar Piastri find his pace in the last few races the potential of the rookie is certainly beginning to show. Now, with the pair having made contact in Monza on race day, Team principal Andrea Stella stated: “If the contact is due to the fact that there was pressure because of the undercut and so on, then we have something to review. Because it means drivers put the team at risk because of affirming themselves, this is not acceptable.”


The moment which Stella was referring to took place as Oscar Piastri exited the pits having changed to hard tyres. Norris, having pitted prior to Piastri, had gotten the jump on his teammate as he came down the straight and did so with fresh tyres already up to temperature. Piastri had a fresh compound too but his were far colder. Norris explained post-race to media how he felt this was key to the contact occurring.


“I guess he [Piastri] was just on cold tyres or something, so he had a bit of understeer. I left enough of a gap, I think, but it’s impossible to see, it was very difficult to see in the mirror. I left a big gap. But it’s just, hard and cold tyres, is not a nice combination, and I guess he just ran into my rear tyre, but nothing else.” explained Norris.


The moment could have easily resulted for a double DNF for McLaren and Piastri admitted: “It’s obviously not ideal. Fortunately, we both were fine after. Of course, the intention is never to get that close.”

Upon reflecting on the result, Lando Norris spoke in a way showing he was satisfied with his day’s work even if there were possibly more points left on the table.


“I’m still happy with today. Tough because of the Williams maybe not allowing us to get as many points as I think we could have achieved,” said Norris. He also explained how he was pleased with his good pace and admitted the outcome was far from guaranteed.

“We were also at times expecting not to be in the points today so I’m happy with it. I think it was a damage limitation but at the same time it’s good to see the progress we’ve made on a low downforce circuit,”

All eyes now on Singapore, a track Norris says is a tough one and ‘one I really love’. What neutral motorsport fans are certainly loving is the pace of Oscar Piastri and the increasingly competitive battle between the two teammates. Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix may not have ended how the rookie McLaren racer may have hoped – out of the points in P12 – but it was another reminder of the pace Oscar Piastri holds. As such, dueling McLaren’s under the lights in Singapore is a very real prospect but one can imagine there won’t be quite so much contact between the two teammates next time round.