Lando Norris “very happy” with “smart” P2 in F1 Singapore GP: Sainz “helped me to achieve that”

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The McLaren driver ended the eventful race in P2, equalling his best career result for the third time in 2023. Starting from P4, Norris had made his way up to P3 after jumping Leclerc in the pits during a Safety Car period, before Mercedes’s strategical second pit stop under the VSC.

The different tyre choice allowed “the quickest” driver out there, George Russell, in the McLaren driver’s words, to quickly make his way up to P3, catching Norris and almost overtaking him out of turn 14. However, Russell’s race came to its end earlier than it should have, as the Mercedes driver crashed out at Turn 10 during the final tour.

Norris broke down his very successful run in the post-race interview, thanking his former teammate Carlos Sainz for the aid in his quest for P2: “Carlos was very generous trying to help me get DRS. He helped my race and I also helped his, so it was tough.”

Photo credit: McLaren Racing

“We knew it was going to be tough as soon as the Mercedes boxed, especially with only a couple of cars for them to overtake, but we’re on the podium, P2, we held them off. We did everything we needed to do and more. So super happy.”

Norris’s last race lap was rather challenging as he admitted he had hit the wall in the same spot where Russell went on to crash out of the race:

“I hit the wall on the last lap in the same place, so I think he copied me and just did it even worse. So I feel for him, he fought a tough race. It helped me a bit the last couple of corners, I could chill just a little bit more,” he concluded.

“Amazing, great race. No overtaking on track, but just perfect strategy. Great pit stop from my guys to get me out ahead of Charles.”

Later on, Norris thanked again Sainz for his “clever” approach to the race, which helped both drivers to hold on to their podium finishes in spite of the tyre advantage Mercedes had towards the final laps of the race:

“Both Mercedes boxed, I kinda thought it was guaranteed that they would both get past me, but I managed to hold them off.

“Carlos helped me to achieve that, we worked together pretty well, I think, to help one another, because if I got overtaken, pretty much he would have done, so yeah, we helped each other and it worked out perfectly.”

The McLaren driver also recounted what happened in his battle with Russell out of turn 14. The Mercedes looked to have the momentum on exit but Norris ultimately had better straight-line speed and could claim the inside to defend.

“I thought he kind of had me initially, but then I got an overtake, and I think he bottomed out a little bit, because there is a little crest in the road, and that just gave me a little bit of momentum to stay ahead of him.”

“I had to play it tactical. I think if I had attacked Carlos, I probably wouldn’t have finished on the podium today. I also had to play it smart, Carlos played it smart, clever with it all. Congrats to him, and a great race by George, I feel bad for him,” he concluded, very pleased with his work in combination with Sainz.