Lando Norris asserts he had "no chance" of taking his maiden Formula 1 race win at the Singapore Grand Prix.
His claim comes despite finishing the race less than a second behind winner Carlos Sainz.
In the final stages of the Grand Prix, the leading duo came under pressure from Mercedes’ George Russell and Lewis Hamilton, with far fresher tyres.
Sainz strategically slowed his car to provide Norris with DRS, aiding his efforts to stay ahead of Russell who would go on to crash out of the race on final lap.
“George couldn’t overtake me, he struggled to overtake me when he had a five, six-tenths advantage, so the chances of me getting past Carlos with maybe a one-tenth advantage, there was no chance,” Norris told media including RacingNews365.
“Carlos played it smart. There was no need for me to try and attack him.
“The more I attacked him, probably the more vulnerable I would have been from both the guys behind and I wouldn't be sitting here, we wouldn't be on the podium if I played it differently.”
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Norris feared retirement with wall contact
Mercedes was able to make a charge at the end of the race when they both pitted for fresh Medium tyres.
Russell and Hamilton successfully used their tyre advantage to close up on the race.
Prior to Russell’s crash, Norris also hit the wall and revealed the contact damaged his steering which forced him to limp across the line.
“It was stressful last few laps. I think we both knew as soon as the VSC came out, we had to put in a stint-and-a-half and try to open up the gap as big as possible.
“But they still caught us. Then it was about not making a mistake. I knew with George, he was going to pressure me a lot.
“He did and I had to defend quite a bit into 15, or 14. That's when Carlos backed off after that when there was a little bit of a gap and allowed me to get the DRS which was very helpful.
“We together played it in a smart way to get the Mercs to stay behind us. The last lap then I had a bit more of a breather.
“I hit the wall, where George also hit the wall, but I hit it with the front so I kind of panicked a bit, thinking maybe I just messed it all up, but it damaged the steering, in terms of it was just off-centre.
“But luckily, it wasn't nothing more than that. So an amazing race, a stressful race from start to finish. A lot of management, but perfectly executed.”