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Lando Norris

Norris: I won't shy away from Verstappen battle

McLaren's Lando Norris is aiming to get in front of Red Bull's Max Verstappen in Sprint Qualifying at Monza, believing a small error cost himself the chance to start from third on the grid.

Article
To news overview © McLaren

McLaren's Lando Norris says he won't shy away from attacking Max Verstappen during the Sprint Qualifying race at Monza, as he feels he should be starting ahead of the Red Bull driver after Friday's qualifying session.

Norris finished less than half a tenth behind third-placed Verstappen in Friday's session, having to settle for fourth after Verstappen used a tow from teammate Sergio Perez to slot in behind the two Mercedes drivers.

But Norris feels that Verstappen is vulnerable to attack, and that Red Bull's pace advantage over them isn't as significant as usual.

"I think we just need to stay where we are, [but] if we can have an opportunity to maybe overtake Max, because I think we may be a bit closer to him," Norris told media, including RacingNews365.com, on Friday evening.

"Mercedes is a long way down the road, so I don't feel like we're really racing them, but we could have a chance to race against the Red Bulls.

"We're ahead of Perez and almost had Max. We're waiting to see, I'm not sure, we have to look at our high fuel pace and go from there."

Norris explained that he felt he had the upper hand on the Red Bull throughout the first parts of qualifying, but that he made an error at the crucial moment in Q3 that means he starts Sprint Qualifying behind Verstappen.

"I think I kind of had him in Q1 and Q2. I thought there was a couple places I can make some improvements, which I did," Norris explained.

"But on my final lap I made the biggest mistake of my quali and I just messed up the apex of the second chicane. I lost a tenth, and a tenth would have been P3. [But] I'm still happy."

Norris joked about Verstappen wanting to take him out of the race, saying: "He sees me as a threat so he wants to take me out of the race nice and early!

"He doesn't want me to hurt his chances, but I'm here to race. I'm here to race him, even if he's going for the championship.

"But the Red Bull is still obviously a quicker car, more driveable, more raceable when you have the high fuel, the tyre degradation and so on.

"When it's just qualifying on new tyres, that's when it comes to us a little bit. So yeah, it can be positive and we can look forward to [Sprint Qualifying].

"I'll still be going for it, I'm trying to get past and go forwards. But again, I've got to pick my battles wisely."

Follow Rudy van Buren as he takes you on a flying lap around the home of Italian motorsport, the historic 'Temple of Speed' at Monza.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Italian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Italian Grand Prix straight from Monza.

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