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Lando Norris

McLaren defend Norris after 'shocking' China sprint

Lando Norris started on pole position but could only take sixth in the Chinese Grand Prix sprint.

To news overview © XPBimages

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella has launched a staunch defence of Lando Norris following the Chinese Grand Prix sprint.

From pole position, a slow start for Norris allowed Lewis Hamilton to dive up the inside of Turn 1, forcing Norris wide into Turn 2.

The younger Briton attempted to hold on around the outside but was forced off-track and dropped to seventh, which eventually became sixth at the flag after Fernando Alonso's puncture and retirement.

Despite the disappointment of the poor start, Stella was quick to defend Norris.

"Lando certainly doesn't need to apologise, but he knows he could have done better," Stella told Sky Sports F1 after Norris apologised over the team radio on the cool-down lap.

"We appreciate the maximum effort and work as a team, and it just gives us a sense of the kind of person he is, like he has disappointed the team.

"Don't worry Lando, you haven't disappointed the team, we need to give you a better car, and then things will became much easier rather than always being on the limit to bring important results.

"It is more up to us, the men and women at McLaren, who are working hard to improve the car."

Norris's view

Norris himself felt there "no chance" of holding on for the sprint win, even before the first-lap incident.

"There was no chance, maybe we could have been one or two positions higher, but that was it," Norris told Sky Sports F1.

"The Mercedes had very good pace, George [Russell] was catching us quite quickly and even with the Red Bulls and Ferraris, honestly I was just managing to survive with the DRS.

"If I didn't have the DRS, I was long gone behind all of them, so the race pace was pretty shocking, which we kind of expected with the limitations we have on the car."

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