Fernando Alonso believes the “very impressive” performance from teammate Lando Norris will have surprised people at the Rolex 24.
Alongside Phil Hanson, Alonso and Norris made up the No.23 United Autosports entry at Daytona, which ultimately finished in 38th place after a spate of reliability issues during the 24 hours. However, Norris was one of the standout performers in the race, setting the team’s fastest lap and rapidly closing in on the leaders during changeable conditions on Saturday night.
Asked for his thoughts on the two drivers he shared a car with, Alonso was effusive in his praise for the McLaren reserve driver.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) January 28, 2018
“About my teammates, maybe it’s not a surprise [to me], but for the people that don’t know Lando, it will be a surprise for them,” Alonso said. “The things he did were very impressive. The teamwork, the preparation, the focus.
“At night if you look, when we switched to wet tires for one stint, we were fifth, one minute behind the leader. Then we switched to slick tires again in damp conditions – all this with Lando driving – and we were 27 seconds behind the leaders.
“So even in wet conditions, his first time in a prototype, first time in Daytona, first time with Continental tires, he recovered 33 seconds in 20 laps or something like that. He is 18 years old, so that is quite impressive…”
And the two-time Formula 1 World Champion was similarly impressed with United Autosports during what was his first sports car race experience.
“It was amazing teamwork. First with United Autosports, the package maybe was not as competitive as some other packages out there but we were very fast in the race. We were probably easily on the podium, the other car was fighting for the podium and finished P4. That’s amazing, what United Autosports can achieve as a team.
“We had too many issues in the race but the mechanics kept focused and they kept motivated all race long. That was a good example of teamwork and dedication.”
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