Norris extra motivated in fight for P4

Lando Norris says the battle for P4 in the Drivers’ Championship is giving him that extra push at race weekends.

The Briton started the season in style at the Austrian Grand Prix, scoring his first ever podium finish with P3, and since then he has kept his name in a large bunch of drivers battling it out for P4 in the Drivers’ Championship.

Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas and Max Verstappen will lock out the top three positions, and although Daniel Ricciardo is the current ‘best of the rest’ in P4 with 78 points, Charles Leclerc is only 15 points adrift of the Renault driver in P8.

Norris finds himself nestled in P5 on 65 points after losing that P4 spot following back-to-back races without points.

But that extremely close scrap for P4 is giving him an extra motivation to go racing with 6 rounds of the 2020 season to go.

“It’s nice to go into every weekend like this because you can find extra motivation thinking about it,” he told Motorsport.com.

“Of course, I don’t go into every weekend thinking about the Championship or trying to hold that position in the Championship, but it still motivates me and makes me push a little bit more.

“Obviously, there have been ups and downs. We started the year very well and managed to get the maximum from the first few races.

“As a team, we started very strongly, especially on my side. In this way, we had the advantage at first.”

Norris is wary though of Renault and Ricciardo after losing ground to the Aussie in recent weeks.

“Renault had a very strong rise in the middle of the season. I’ve made mistakes in a few places. Some tracks didn’t suit us as well as Renault,”he explained.

“We’re pushing too hard and trying to keep our position. But at the same time, it’s not that easy to achieve.

“One weekend we’re slightly ahead, while another weekend we may be slightly behind. So when we’re behind or we have the faster car, we try to get the maximum and earn more points.”

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McLaren are yet to fully understand the benefits of updates like their new Mercedes-style nose cone which they have introduced, but Norris believes McLaren’s overall upgrades are giving them some momentum for the remainder of the season.

He also teased further upgrades to come for the Portuguese Grand Prix.

“We haven’t had many updates during the year. We started the season with a very good package and it took him a while to understand it,” the Briton explained.

“The updates we’re bringing in now, the updates we brought in at the beginning of the season, and the fact that we understand the car better every weekend.

“Understanding, working on and developing today’s cars is very challenging. We have a plan for that.

“We’ve had a few updates in Russia, and there’s still going to be some minor updates this weekend, but they’re still not updates that will allow us to get second place in the Championship or do special things.

“We’re trying to put it all together and we want to make sure the car is working properly. We are trying to get the maximum from the package.”

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Norris opens up on Rossi inspiration

Lando Norris has revealed just how strong Valentino Rossi’s influence is on his career, saying the Italian “inspired” him to be who he is today.

Although Rossi competes in the world of MotoGP while Norris has now completed his first season in F1, the nine-time champion was Norris’ biggest inspiration to begin racing.

The 20-year-old met his idol for the first time in 2019 at MotoGP’s British GP in August, while Norris would sport a tribute helmet and boots for Rossi at last season’s F1 Italian Grand Prix.

With the pair having not before last year, it may seem strange that Norris developed such a strong admiration for Rossi, but it all makes sense after Norris revealed that this goes back all the way to his childhood.

Speaking at Autosport International 2020, Norris said: “I started watching Valentino before I started watching Formula 1, when I was like four years old.

“He was the first guy I watched in any sort of racing, whether it was cars, rallying, bikes or whatever.

“He was the guy who when I was such a young kid, I looked up to, and I dreamt of being like him in many ways.

“There are still things and characteristics that maybe I have which are similar to him, like my helmet design and the colours, and just things I like to do.

“He was the guy that inspired me to be who I am today.”

Although Norris admits he is racing mad, it wasn’t until he gave karting a go that he became hooked on a career in motorsport.

“I’ve loved racing. As soon as I saw it once, I loved it,” he explained.

“I watched MotoGP first of all. I then just got into a bit of all-round racing, whether it was Formula 1, rallying, GT cars, whatever. I just loved motorsports.

“The first time I got to go and watch a race was when I was around six or seven, which was a go-kart race, and then I got my first go-kart because all I wanted to do was have a go, and that’s how it all started.”

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Norris: Sainz relationship only ‘benefits’ McLaren

Lando Norris believes McLaren’s P4 finish in 2019 was made possible by his strong relationship with team-mate Carlos Sainz.

The duo developed a reputation in their first season together for being the most entertaining duo on the grid, thanks to their strong rapport and array of pranks.

It did lead to some suggestions aimed at Norris though that he didn’t take F1 seriously enough in his rookie year, and while the Briton has said that he is looking to develop a more serious side, he also thinks his relationship with Sainz was key to McLaren securing P4 in the Constructors’ Championship – their best finish since 2012.

Speaking at Autosport International 2020, he said: “We’re both looking at the longer game of ‘if we both want to achieve what we want to achieve, which is to win races, to win championships, the best thing is to work together’.

“We wouldn’t have finished P4 in the championship as a team if we didn’t work as well together as we did last year.

“A big part of what we have achieved is because of how we work together, how we help each other, how we try and help the team.

“At the moment, it’s only benefiting us in every way.

“I hope it continues because I just want to have fun and enjoy it and he does as well.”

McLaren are hoping to continue their progress up the grid in 2020, and Norris says the team are trying to address their cornering issues of 2019 with the new challenger.

“Things aren’t as different as what they were last year,” he said.

“Last year was a completely different car, with a lot of mechanical problems.

“And you don’t always hear about every problem that goes on in a team and in Formula 1. But we were kind of suffering a bit at the beginning of last year.

“And there was a new car. So, we were trying to get as much understanding as we could get.

“Whereas this year’s car is much more of an adaptation from last year. It’s just working on all of the areas.

“I [also] want to say I’m more confident in my own driving, because it’s my second year in Formula 1, so I now feel a lot more confident.

“But also the team has done a very good job and [is] working on, particularly obviously the areas which we were not good [at] last year – that we were quite weak in.

“Which was almost every corner but there’s still more specific corners, which we struggled in.

“So it’s trying to work on those areas and, from the results I’ve seen, it’s looking positive. It’s going in the right direction, but we still need more to be really competitive.”

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Norris reveals his ‘strong’ to-do list for 2020

Lando Norris has revealed the areas he is working on over winter in order to come back a more improved driver for the 2020 season.

Norris more than played his part in contributing to what was a very strong rookie line-up with Alex Albon and George Russell also impressing throughout the 2019 season.

Norris has been a breath of fresh air to Formula 1, but he feels that he was a bit too jokey at times during his first year at the highest level of motorsport.

On top of that, the Brit also has a list of areas where we wants to improve ahead of the new campaign and one of his main priorities is to increase his depth of knowledge about his McLaren car.

“There is a general few things that are repetitive on some weekends, when we get to qualifying, how Carlos finds his time and how good he is at adapting to track conditions and everything. Things like that,” Norris told Autosport.

“One of the biggest things I’ll be working on this winter is my knowledge of the car. How it works, not just how to drive it faster around corners or brake later or whatever.

“The set-up and everything like that. How to improve more as a package and [get] the car [to] work better for me, and me work better with the car.

“But then there’s some things in driving as well that I know I need to improve and every weekend it’s kind of similar things – I get a little bit better at but not enough.

“So when it comes to next season I [need to] put it together again, same as other things.

“I’m able to use those different techniques in different corners and different tracks.

“Some things are repetitive, some things are just more about knowledge and a bit of everything. I think I have a strong list of what I need to work on.”

Although there is room for improvement in Norris’ eyes, he is still content with what he was able to achieve in his first Formula 1 season.

“I’m happy with the progress I’ve made, the progress we made, my engineers, the team I work with, and I think it’s put us in a much better position for next year,” Norris added.

“It’s not like we’re only ever focusing on driving, it’s been a lot of the off-track stuff away from the track as well.

“We’ve been trying to keep on top of things and improve at the same time.

“Formula 1 isn’t just a game of who can drive the best, there’s a whole package you need.

“Some of the time it’s just been focusing on all these different areas.

“I had up and down races and everything [in 2019] but hopefully being able to put everything together for when it’s going to count even more.”

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Norris resolves to take things more seriously in 2020

Despite a successful maiden season in Formula 1, McLaren’s Lando Norris is determined to change his approach next season by getting more serious about his racing.

The happy, smiling teenager (who turned 20 in November just before the Brazilian Grand Prix) was a breath of fresh air when he arrived in the paddock in March

He went on to out-qualify his experienced team mate Carlos Sainz 11-10 over the course of his rookie campaign, although he came off distinctly second-best when it came to actual race results.

Now that he has a full year of getting to know F1’s iconic circuits under his belt, Norris intends to do significantly better in his sophomore season.

“In some ways I think I’ve been almost been too relaxed, and had too much fun,” he told Autosport magazine.

“Maybe sometimes I’ve pushed it a bit too much in terms of making it too jokey, and not focusing as much as I should.

“When it’s become more serious, I haven’t focused as much as I should do,” he suggested.

He admitted that in his view he had failed to work on all the areas of his driving that he should have done to maintain his momentum into race days.

“It’s been good and I’ve been able to have fun in my first season,” he said. “[But] I think I started to take a little bit for granted.”

For all his smiles and jokes, Norris has frequently been notably hard on himself when he’s made small errors in qualifying or lost positions during the race due to an inevitable lack of experience.

Finding the balance between serious competitiveness while keeping his love for the sport alive will be one of the biggest challenges ahead of him in his second season in F1.

“There’s a compromise,” he acknowledged. “I still just want to have fun sometimes, wear my own jumper, things like that.

“I’ve not just come in and been surrounded by too many serious things and people,” he added. “I think that’s also helped in my ability to work on several things, and to improve as a driver.”

Norris ended the year by being honoured with the fan vote for Rookie of the Year, and credited a warm working relationship with Sainz as one of the key reasons for his success.

“Carlos was a good mentor for me,” he told Motorsport.com. “I learned a lot from him.”

“There are many things that have helped me to do better, that have helped me to beat him in some cases. That is because of what I picked up, thanks to him.

“He was very good himself and was open to helping me,” Norris added. “I tried to give him the same. This was also something good between us last season.

“He was a good person to learn from.”

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Norris: I haven’t been as serious as I should be

McLaren’s Lando Norris feel that at times in his rookie F1 season he joked about too much and wasn’t serious when he needed to be.

It didn’t seem to hold the British driver back on the race track as he won the McLaren qualifying battle 11-10 against Carlos Sainz, while he drummed up one of the best relationships with his team-mate F1 has seen in a long time.

Norris’ antics also helped him to build up a strong social media following as the sport looks to reach out to younger viewers.

Despite the jokes though McLaren would finish P4 in the Constructors’ Championship in 2019, their best result since 2012, and Norris played a big role in that achievement.

But, he still feels like he can do a better job of being more serious.

“In some ways I think I’ve been almost been too relaxed, and had too much fun,” Norris told Autosport.com.

“When it’s become more serious, I haven’t focused as much as I should do and so on, and worked on as many areas as I should do, I think I started to take a little bit for granted.

“It’s been good and I’ve been able to have fun in my first season, I’ve not just come in and been surrounded by too many serious things and people.

“At the same time and I think that’s also helped in my ability to work on several things and improve as a driver.

“Maybe sometimes I’ve pushed it a bit too much in terms of making it too jokey, and not focusing as much as I should.

“There’s a compromise, I still just want to have fun sometimes, wear my own jumper [instead of McLaren team gear] and things like that.”

Norris also built a bond with fellow prankster Daniel Ricciardo with the pair hilariously bringing the British GP driver press conference to a halt with their laughter.

But, Norris says that unlike himself, Ricciardo’s experience and achievements in the sport gives him the right to be relaxed.

Asked if Ricciardo showed that it was okay for drivers to show a jovial side, Norris replied: “Yeah, but at the same time he’s in his whatever [ninth] year of F1 and in his very few years of F1 I don’t think he was as jokey and fun with everything compared to what he is now.

“Not because he wasn’t [fun], but because he took it seriously and had to prove what he could do and then he was able to be more himself.

“I have to make sure I don’t let people use what I do and who I am as an excuse – ‘it’s his first year and he doesn’t take it too seriously’.

“Over time maybe I’ll become more relaxed like him but I think I still have to look more serious from the outside sometimes than I’d want to be just so people don’t use things that aren’t true as excuses.”

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Norris says harsh self-criticism 'best way to improve'

McLaren’s Lando Norris says he is his harshest critic when his performance doesn’t meet his expectations, insisting his attitude of self-reproach helps him improve as a driver.

Norris enjoyed a remarkable maiden year in F1, delivering 49 points to his team and outqualifying his experienced teammate Carlos Sainz 11 to 10 despite a steep learning curve.

The 20-year-old’s talent didn’t go unnoticed with the fans who voted him as their ‘Rookie of the Year’.

While Norris appreciates the plaudits, he also knows that his performances are far from flawless.

In Brazil, where he finished 8th, his post-race radio message in which he admitted to having been “fuc***g slow” was a typical case of his self-criticism and candor.

“I’m always quite hard on myself,” Norris told Top Gear.

“I hate when people tell me I’ve done a good job when I know I haven’t or maybe even they know I haven’t, but they want to be nice and cheer me up. I’m just realistic,

“I know that if I’ve not done a good enough job then I’m just not very happy with myself.

“For my own benefit, to make me a better driver going into the future, that’s my best way of improvement if I’m being harsh on myself when I’ve needed to do better.

“So it makes me work harder, makes me work with the team better and hopefully do a better job next time qualifying or the race comes around.”

Norris also endured his fair share of bad luck in 2019, when big points were lost to circumstances or reliability issues, like in Belgium when an engine failure deprived him of a remarkable fifth place finish.

But the McLaren charger knows he can’t carry a disappointment into the next race, let alone into the next season.

“The first few I kind of didn’t get so annoyed about and then I had Paul Ricard, Canada and Spa. Then I got a bit more annoyed because it was happening a bit more regularly,” Norris said.

“I had a couple more and it kind of got to the point where I was realising more it was nothing I could change or effect, or even the people around me. It wasn’t our fault. It’s things that happen and mistakes that are made.

“Those few I was quite easily able to forgive but the next lot were then frustrating because with Spa it was [going to be] my best result and then going into Mexico with the pit stop, it was like this happens and I need to move on because there’s nothing I can do.

“When I look back it has affected a lot of things and points in the championship but a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it has been things out of my control and things I cannot change,” he added.

“That’s just something I need to forget and go into next year, something I don’t need to be thinking about.”

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Norris says harsh self-criticism 'best way to improve'

McLaren’s Lando Norris says he is his harshest critic when his performance doesn’t meet his expectations, insisting his attitude of self-reproach helps him improve as a driver.

Norris enjoyed a remarkable maiden year in F1, delivering 49 points to his team and outqualifying his experienced teammate Carlos Sainz 11 to 10 despite a steep learning curve.

The 20-year-old’s talent didn’t go unnoticed with the fans who voted him as their ‘Rookie of the Year’.

While Norris appreciates the plaudits, he also knows that his performances are far from flawless.

In Brazil, where he finished 8th, his post-race radio message in which he admitted to having been “fuc***g slow” was a typical case of his self-criticism and candor.

“I’m always quite hard on myself,” Norris told Top Gear.

“I hate when people tell me I’ve done a good job when I know I haven’t or maybe even they know I haven’t, but they want to be nice and cheer me up. I’m just realistic,

“I know that if I’ve not done a good enough job then I’m just not very happy with myself.

“For my own benefit, to make me a better driver going into the future, that’s my best way of improvement if I’m being harsh on myself when I’ve needed to do better.

“So it makes me work harder, makes me work with the team better and hopefully do a better job next time qualifying or the race comes around.”

Norris also endured his fair share of bad luck in 2019, when big points were lost to circumstances or reliability issues, like in Belgium when an engine failure deprived him of a remarkable fifth place finish.

But the McLaren charger knows he can’t carry a disappointment into the next race, let alone into the next season.

“The first few I kind of didn’t get so annoyed about and then I had Paul Ricard, Canada and Spa. Then I got a bit more annoyed because it was happening a bit more regularly,” Norris said.

“I had a couple more and it kind of got to the point where I was realising more it was nothing I could change or effect, or even the people around me. It wasn’t our fault. It’s things that happen and mistakes that are made.

“Those few I was quite easily able to forgive but the next lot were then frustrating because with Spa it was [going to be] my best result and then going into Mexico with the pit stop, it was like this happens and I need to move on because there’s nothing I can do.

“When I look back it has affected a lot of things and points in the championship but a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it has been things out of my control and things I cannot change,” he added.

“That’s just something I need to forget and go into next year, something I don’t need to be thinking about.”

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Norris won’t let 2019 frustrations linger

Lando Norris missed out on a good number of points in his rookie year due to factors out of his control, but he won’t let the frustration linger into 2020.

Although he won the qualifying battle with team-mate Carlos Sainz 11-10, Norris was comfortably outscored in the Drivers’ Championship, collecting 49 points to Sainz’s 96.

But Norris also had his fair share of bad luck – suspension and hydraulic failures cost him in Canada and France respectively, while a breakdown in Spa saw him drop out of P5 on the last lap.

There was also a botched pit stop to contend with in Mexico, but although frustrated, especially with the Spa incident, Norris sees no value in letting it linger into the 2020 campaign.

“The first few I kind of didn’t get so annoyed about and then I had Paul Ricard, Canada and Spa. Then I got a bit more annoyed because it was happening a bit more regularly,” he is quoted by Crash.net.

“I had a couple more and it kind of got to the point where I was realising more it was nothing I could change or effect, or even the people around me. It wasn’t our fault. It’s things that happen and mistakes that are made.

“Those few I was quite easily able to forgive but the next lot were then frustrating because with Spa it was [going to be] my best result and then going into Mexico with the pit stop, it was like this happens and I need to move on because there’s nothing I can do.

“When I look back it has affected a lot of things and points in the Championship but a lot of it, not all of it, but a lot of it has been things out of my control and things I cannot change.

“That’s just something I need to forget and go into next year, something I don’t need to be thinking about.”

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Norris became 'complete' driver after summer break – Seidl

McLaren F1 boss Andreas Seidl says that rookie Lando Norris built himself up over the course of the season to become a “complete” driver after F1’s summer break.

As a McLaren junior, and a runner-up in the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship, Norris was promoted to a race seat with the Woking-based outfit for this season alongside Carlos Sainz.

The 20-year-old qualified an impressive 8th in Melbourne and scored his first top-ten finish in only his second race when he clocked in 6th in Bahrain.

Norris’ approach as he learned his trade was methodical and progressive, with a focus on gaining experience and confidence, which warranted cautious race starts on the part of the young Briton.

“For Lando as a rookie, it is clear to see that he was simply building it up over the course of the season,” Seidl said, quoted by RACER.

“He was quick straight out of the box in Melbourne, he went into his first ever qualifying and ended up in Q3, which proved that it was the right choice to go for him and showed what a talent he is.

“At the same time it’s normal that he took his time also in order to build up experience and get more and more aggressive in the races — especially the race starts, where he took it more conservatively at the beginning of the season, because it’s important that he finishes the races to build up experience.

“Then I would say from the second half onwards he was a complete F1 race driver, because when you see the starts that he has done, how he’s doing the races, it’s impressive.

“He was simply a bit unlucky with technical issues and so on, which were many times in the way of big results.”

Despite a steep learning curve, Norris outqualified Sainz in 11 races out of 21 and indeed lost out on some good points in several instances like at Spa where he was heading to a remarkable P5 before an engine issue ruined his efforts on the final lap.

“When you look at the result of the qualifying, for example, to have 11-10, it’s something that is great for me to see because it simply confirms that we have two top, quick drivers,” added Seidl.

“On Carlos’s side, the situation was a bit different. He was new to the team but you could see that he already has some experience with other teams.

“So it was important from the first test last year to help develop the car together with the engineers, to give a clear direction.

“He simply was there over the course of the entire season — in both qualifying and the races — and the result you see in the number of points he scored.”

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