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Lando Norris

Norris thankful for McLaren gamble that rescued Belgian GP

The McLaren racer finished seventh at Spa after a late charge in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Norris Belgium
To news overview © XPBimages

Lando Norris believes McLaren "had to try something" to rescue his Belgian Grand Prix after a poor opening stint.

Using a higher downforce rear-wing package on the MCL60, Norris plummeted down the order in the opening stages at Spa-Francocrchamps owing to the lack of straight-line speed.

The team eventually pitted him to enable him to run in free air but the Hard tyre gamble did not work despite McLaren enjoying success on the harder Pirelli compounds in recent races.

A late switch to Softs enabled the Briton to charge back to seventh place and haul a decent result after his podiums in Great Britain and Hungary.

"We had to try something, and we went on to the Hard, but it was even worse," Norris told media including RacingNews365.

"No-one used the Hard all weekend, we thought it normally kind of suits us so I think it was the right decision to try, but it was still terrible.

"I just didn't have enough laps to get in the tyres [into an operating window] and be able to push, I got overtaken on my first lap out of the [pits].

"I got put behind one car so I couldn't push in the middle sector again and got overtaken two or three more times.

"We then put the Softs on and everything came back towards us, but I don't know how I ended up seventh. Honestly, I felt like I was last for the most part and ended up seventh.

"We just need to rethink how we approach the weekend with the wing level and stuff like this, especially on a different circuit [such as Spa].

"It might work on one, but it doesn't work on all of them, and we clearly got it wrong this weekend."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

McLaren's rethink

Being able to fire up its tyres quicker, McLaren opted for Softs for the final stint, just as light rain was beginning to fall, with this transforming Norris's afternoon.

"The Soft tyre changed the whole race for us, I was fighting for P16 or P17 then I ended up P7, the Softs just made things work, which is the opposite of what we had at Silverstone and [the Hungaroring]," he said.

"There, the Hard tyre worked better for us, and now the Softer tyres work better.

"We just need to understand track surfaces and downforce levels and so on. Spa is always a track that punishes the tyres very hard, and maybe it is not necessarily the best thing to have a lot of high-speed [corner] performance as you put a load of stress into the tyres.

"Maybe it is better to cruise a little bit in the high-speed [corners], don't put stress into the tyres and be a rocket ship on the straights."

F1 2023 Belgian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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