“Quite nice to fight some of the quicker cars and the bigger teams”, says Norris on P4 in Austria

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Photo credit: McLaren Racing

Lando Norris put together a solid race to cross the line in fifth for the Austrian Grand Prix, but was then promoted to fourth on the heels of widespread track limits violations. In either case, the result marks his and McLaren’s best result since he and Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth and fifth at Singapore last season.

The British driver battled with and ultimately passed Lewis Hamilton in the second stint of the race. Such was the impressive nature of his drive, he was only beaten by the Red Bulls and Ferraris on track, before Sainz copped a post-race penalty.

Norris admitted he was surprised at the low degradation McLaren had after a tough sprint.

“I felt confident we could be quick, but it was just could we maintain that and could we stay there for the whole race. Surprisingly it was better than I was expecting.”

Norris drove a newly upgraded version of the MCL60, which he called “a big step forward”, and remarked on the general morale boost of having a more competitive car.

“It’s also just quite nice to be battling again, having a car that you can go through. It makes such a big difference to fight some of the quicker cars and the bigger teams.”

The result doubled Norris’ point total for the season, and lifted him ahead of Pierre Gasly, who was docked a position after one of numerous post-race penalties. Norris had some sympathy for the runners who were penalized after stewards deleted 83 laptimes for track limits violations, particularly regarding running wide at turn 10, resulting in nearly two minutes’ worth of time penalties across the field.

“It’s just people on the outside, like, they complain, but they don’t understand how difficult it is to stay within the track limits. Yes, I guess you can say I did and why can’t everyone else do it? But it depends what position you’re in.[…] When you’re under pressure, you’re pushing that a little bit more. You have a little bit more of a slide. But that’s just like, it’s a human error, but it’s also like that’s racing in the end of the day.”