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Start French GP
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Lando Norris

Norris: Penalty threat made race extremely nervous

Lando Norris has explained that two early race mistakes meant a time penalty was looming over him for the entire race.

Article
To news overview © McLaren

McLaren's Lando Norris finished a brilliant third at the Monaco Grand Prix, holding off Red Bull's Sergio Perez to claim the final podium spot.

But the British driver was under even more pressure than usual, after making two early errors that meant he had no leeway to make even a slight misstep for most of the race.

Missing his braking point twice into the chicane during the opening laps, Norris was shown the black and white flag to inform him that he had used up his allowance of incidents at the corner. One more time across the chicane, and the McLaren driver would have been given a time penalty that would have shuffled him down from the podium.

"Yeah, there’s a new rule for this weekend," Norris explained to select members of the media, including RacingNews365.com afterwards.

"In the chicane, if you missed the chicane you get a warning and to be honest I only missed the first apex part, like the first part of the right and I still still went to the left of the second one and lost time in both, both times I locked up there, but I think by about Lap 7 I had used both my opportunities to go off the track."

Norris was told over team radio by engineer Will Joseph to not make any further mistakes, meaning that the British driver had to do 70 laps ensuring that he never missed his braking point by even an inch.

"It made my engineer Will extremely nervous and I’m sure it made certain other people very nervous too," Norris added.

"So not an ideal start to the race, especially because I knew there were many more laps to go and the final stint, when you can be pushing more, if I made one more mistake and went off I would have a five-second penalty and Perez would be ahead of me.

"I guess I was pushing a bit and doing a lot of fuel-saving at certain times and just slightly misjudged it and I missed the apex and I got my warning."

With Norris fending off Perez in the closing stages, he got on the radio to ask his engineer for 'no further communications' to ensure radio silence and maximum concentration to get to the chequered flag ahead of the Red Bull.

"In the end I was telling Will to be quiet, because sometimes you just want to focus on what you need to be doing, just driving around the streets of Monaco and you just want to be in your zone, in that way of just driving round, missing the barriers, just feeling confident and not having to think of any other things," Norris said.

"So, when he’s telling me there’s a guy 20 seconds ahead, it’s not something I cared too much about and I just wanted to concentrate on driving. Simple as that."

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Monaco Grand Prix

The latest news about the Monaco Grand Prix straight from the Circuit de Monaco.

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