“Not acceptable” — Norris says stickers getting stuck under his car almost saw him drop out in Q1 at F1 Monaco GP

Photo Credit: McLaren Racing
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Lando Norris had a lot of praise for his teammate, Oscar Piastri, who he claimed had been “doing a very good job” throughout the weekend as the Australian qualified on the front row for the Monaco GP.

Norris described Piastri’s second-place finish as being “a good sign”, noting that he had been able to split the Ferraris of pole-sitter Charles Leclerc and P3-finisher Carlos Sainz.

The British driver added that he felt that his team should be happy with their performance during qualifying, particularly as their times had been close to those set by the Ferraris who he admitted were considered the “favourites”.

“I mean, Oscar put in second, so he did a good job. But he’s been doing a very good job all weekend, to be honest, so…

“I think I’m very happy, I think as a team we should be happy with a second and a fourth on a street circuit, and to be as close to a Ferrari as we were. We knew that they would probably be the favourites into this weekend, so to split them and have Oscar there, I think it’s a good sign.”

While the McLaren driver acknowledged that there had been a small margin between the lap times set during qualifying, he admitted that he would have preferred to finish in at least third place.

He added that he felt as if his performance in the third qualifying session had improved, after a stressful first session which saw him pitting after some stickers got stuck under his car, forcing him to put in a clutch lap at the end of the session on new tyres to make it through.

“Of course, I would love to win, at least just P3. But it’s such a small margin, such a little bit of lap time here or there. Although misjudging something by the smallest 100 can cost you, so… I’m so happy.

“I’ve got more in the rhythm come Q3, obviously Q1 was a bit stressful, and all the boarding and the stickers came off and got stuck under my car, which then cost me the tyres and things like that.”

Norris described that situation with the stickers as being “a bit of a mess” and added that situations like that should not occur in Formula 1 as it could have cost him the qualifying session and possibly the race.

“So, it was a bit of a mess and that shouldn’t happen in Formula 1. Because it could have cost me my whole weekend in the same case.

“So, I was lucky to get through, but otherwise, I think it was a good day for us.”

The British driver had further criticism for the placement of the stickers, claiming that organisers had been warned about the risk of the stickers becoming stuck to the car, and had “obviously” not taken steps to resolve the matter.

He reiterated that he thought that the situation was not acceptable and claimed that organisers would “need to find a better solution” to avoid situations such as what he had experienced.

“I had to pit for it to come off, so… It just shouldn’t happen in Formula 1. It’s a bit silly in my opinion. We said it yesterday. We said [that] it was going to happen again, and they said [that] they were going to fix it, but obviously it wasn’t fixed, so…

“It’s a shame. You’re just having to get lucky, and I was lucky that I had enough time, otherwise, it would have ruined my qualifying and my whole day. You always come over quick.

“Yeah, but there’s nothing I can do, so… It can only ruin your race at the minute, so it’s a shame, they need to come up with a better solution than just stickers, because of course we’re touching the wall and all of this stuff, but it’s not acceptable that that can ruin your whole weekend, with some stickers and things like that, so… Yeah, they need to find a better solution.”

Norris was also asked whether he thought that there had been any critical moments that he could have improved during qualifying. He replied that he simply had not been good enough, as he had lost time to his teammate in Turns 3 and 4.

The 24-year-old added that while he was frustrated about his performance through Casino Square, but he thought that the rest of the lap had been good, and he was pleased with his overall performance around the track.

“No, I mean, I’ve always struggled a little bit in Turn 3 [and] 4 the whole weekend, and I got closer and closer, but it was the only place I lost time to Oscar. So, I lost like one and a half tenths there, and yeah, silly, [but] that is such a big margin, but I got the timing wrong, and I didn’t get the perfect outlap.

“I’m not really saying that that’s my excuse but I’ve just not been good enough in Turn 3, 4, and that was pretty much the only place I lost [to] Oscar on the whole track.

“So yeah, at least a tenth or almost a tenth and a half… and a tenth and a half around here was probably two positions in the end, so yeah, I’ve been frustrated by that, by that happens sometimes, so as much as I want to kick myself about it, the rest of the lap was good, and I was happy with the rest of it. So, I’m happy with it.”

When asked if he had struggled to bring a lap together more during qualifying despite his positive performances during the Free Practice session, particularly those on Friday which saw him ending FP1 and FP2 in fourth and fifth position respectively, Norris said that that he “a little bit” but that did not think that his performance had been affected by any major issues.

He stated that he had “paid the price” for not being able to get comfortable earlier in the weekend as teammate Piastri just seemed slightly more comfortable from the green light in FP1.

Norris said that he would choose to look at the bright side of his qualifying performance, as “it could have been worse” had he been even slightly slower.

“A little bit, I mean, not a lot, like it wasn’t, yeah, nothing major honestly. I just didn’t get comfortable early enough I think in the weekend, and I just paid the price a little bit, and when you’re talking about such fine margins, like it’s just, yeah, if you get comfortable five laps later or one session later, that can be half a tenth, and a half a tenth around here can be huge.”

“It’s just small things and there’s so many little bits you can probably point at and then put together, but the best job on a day like today is just you can put it all together the most when it counts, so I’m still happy with my lap.

“It could have been a lot worse, at the same time if I was half a tenth slower I’m three positions back or something, so yeah, I’ll look at the bright side today, and I’d say it was a good day for us.”