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Lando Norris

Norris 'messed it up' with 'stupid, amateur' move in Austrian sprint

Lando Norris chastised himself in harsh terms after he "messed it up" in the battle for the lead with Max Verstappen during the Austrian Grand Prix sprint.

Verstappen Norris Sprint Austria
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Lando Norris provided a blunt self-assessment of his battle with Max Verstappen during the sprint at the Austrian Grand Prix.

The 24-year-old sprung a surprise attack on the Red Bull at Turn 3 on lap 5, having previous applied pressure on the Dutchman at Turn 4 - the corner that would prove to be his own undoing.

After his lunge up the inside, his McLaren found itself ahead of the RB20 through the middle DRS zone, but Verstappen would employ a sneak attack of his own, launching up the inside of the MCL38.

In being forced wide, McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri seized the initiative to dispatch of Norris around the outside of Turn 6.

After the race, the British driver was quick to admonish himself for not better defending against Verstappen.

"I did something pretty stupid and silly which was not very smart of me," he told media including RacingNews365 after his post-race interview, in which he said: "Once the tyres get too hot it's difficult to do much so I had to make the most of my opportunity. Then I messed it up and left the door open like an amateur."

In summary, the one-time grand prix winner added: "Some things to improve, but we're there and we can definitely give them a fight tomorrow."

Verstappen out of reach of McLarens

Despite his disappointment at not doing more to retain the lead, Norris felt there was not more he and Piastri could done to regain first position.

"I don't think so, honestly," he stated. "We're there to race and it was too difficult to get past. The pace was good but I don't think we had the pace to go with Max. 

"I think he was that little bit too quick for us. But tomorrow is another [opportunity] and I'll try again."

Assessing the sprint on the whole, the McLaren driver cut a more positive figure, highlighting the solid haul of points claimed for second and third-place finishes - even if there were points to improve upon.

"A good race between us, especially with Max [Verstappen] at the beginning, it was good fun," the 24-year-old contended.

"Probably some things I definitely should have done a bit better in my battle, but I understand that. 

"The pace of the car was very strong to the end of the race, and I had a good battle trying to get past Oscar [Piastri], but I just didn't have enough speed with how much you lose in the middle sector with the dirty air. So it was a good race, a good load of points for us as McLaren, and a good job by the team."

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