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Lando Norris

Norris rejects McLaren pecking order claim

Lando Norris has given a thorough response as to why he felt McLaren was not as quick as Red Bull last time out in Spain.

Verstappen Norris Qualifying Spain
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris has rejected suggestions McLaren had the fastest car in the Spanish Grand Prix, describing how his pace compared to Red Bull's Max Verstappen was a 'mirage.'

Norris qualified on pole position in Barcelona but lost out once the five red lights disappeared to the fast-starting George Russell from fourth and three-time F1 champion Verstappen who was also on the front row. 

McLaren opted to run Norris on a counter-strategy to Verstappen, going long in each stint to create a tyre offset, with the Briton emerging nine seconds behind Verstappen after his final pit stop with 18 laps remaining.

Norris had four-lap fresher tyres than the Dutchman in the final chase but fell 2.2s short of catching him on a weekend the MCL38 was widely regarded as the fastest machine on track. 

Norris, however, has declared why this suggestion was nothing but a mirage.

"After reviewing last weekend, I don't necessarily think that we had a much quicker car than Red Bull," Norris told media, including RacingNews365. 

"I looked quicker more often than Max because of my extended stints and having a decent tyre delta, six laps in the first part and four laps in the second. Around Barcelona, that is a big difference.

"It might only be four laps, and for people who don't know, that might not look like anything, but a four-lap tyre delta to another car is quite extreme in terms of lap-time difference. 

"So that is actually what the time difference was between what Max and I were doing. We weren't miles quicker on an outright lap basis. 

"It was a good strategy that we looked so much quicker and I was catching Max. I caught him but I didn't beat him."

The best-ever

In the 10 races held to date, Norris and Verstappen have finished one-two five times, with the run starting in China and taking in Miami, Imola, Canada and Spain. 

Since April, only in Monaco have the duo not taken the first two finishing positions, with Norris climbing to second in the drivers' standing for the first time in his F1 career with his 19-point haul in Spain, and also bagging the fastest lap. 

The Briton feels to go up against "one of the best drivers ever" in Verstappen, both he and McLaren need to be "perfect".

"There are tiny little things I need to tidy up, and as a team, we need to do a slightly better job, but a lot of it was at the level it needed to be," he said.

"I definitely think it is possible to win races with how the team is performing, how I am performing at the minute, but we're against one of the best drivers ever in Formula 1 and one of the best-performing teams. 

"And then everyone else can easily get in the mix, too, so everything needs to be executed perfectly well - and the one thing that wasn't [in Spain], cost us."

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