Norris: “It’s just split seconds of decision-making and understanding” to reach Red Bull F1 standards

Lando Norris driving his McLaren in the rain in Montreal
Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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Lando Norris is optimistic that McLaren is very close to challenging Red Bull consistently after an upturn in form.

The British driver won in Miami, pulling away from Max Verstappen in the closing stages and was very competitive last time out in Canada.

Victory in Montreal slipped away from Norris after staying out when the Safety Car was deployed, a decision McLaren had little time to consider.

When asked how much McLaren needed to gain to match Red Bull’s execution, he said: “It’s not a huge amount. It’s small things. 

“It’s just split seconds of decision-making and understanding. Montreal was, let’s say, a fairly… although it was quite simple, it was also a fairly difficult decision with what the weather was doing and changing. So it wasn’t as simple as just saying, at the time, we’ve easily made the wrong decision. 

“Those things we definitely should have done better and could have done better and we should have boxed, all of those things. 

“It’s not just as easy as saying that, though, because there are other factors which led us to want to stay out and not necessarily box at the time. 

“Like the weather initially expected to be very bad coming in and actually got less and less and less rain. So if there was that little bit less, it could have stayed out like some drivers did. And it turned out to be still a good thing to do. So again, it wasn’t like we made the wrong decision.”

The sharp end of the field in Formula 1 is decided by fine margins as Ferrari and McLaren have closed down Red Bull’s commanding advantage, although Mercedes looked fastest in the dry in Montreal.

Challenging for victories is a newer experience for McLaren, while Red Bull has been consistently taking victories and championships since 2021, engraining a culture of winning within the team.

Norris said Red Bull’s sustained success over multiple years doesn’t mean they took their foot off the pedal, praising them for the high standards they maintain.

“No, I think they’re a good enough team that even when they’ve been leading, they still generally always made the correct decisions. 

“So whether they’ve been relaxed or not, they’ve still always done a good job and made good decisions. So for them, I think it’s normal business for them.”

The British driver also conceded that McLaren needs to be sharper at the front of the field after prolonged floundering in the midfield for a good chunk of the last decade.

“It’s just more us having to step it up a little bit more than anything else. But again, it’s small things here and there, and it’s just piecing it all together a little bit more. 

“But I think that’s coming. It comes with a bit of time and experience of just being back at the front and having to make these calls in a quicker time.”