Lando Norris believes he let McLaren down by not scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix.
A difficult start to the weekend was highlighted by Norris finishing the three practice sessions in 18th place – ahead only of Williams – but he delivered an eye-catching qualifying performance to start eighth on the grid. After losing out to Nico Hulkenberg and Kimi Raikkonen on the opening lap, Norris dropped to 10th, and then got caught behind Antonio Giovinazzi after his pit stop and ended up 12th.
“Of myself? Not that (proud); of the team, I’m pretty proud,” Norris said. “I think I had a pretty good car. Not perfect, but overall it had enough pace in it to be in the top 10. I just made a couple of mistakes that put me outside of it. That’s why I’m not as happy (as I was after qualifying).
“It’s just nice to get my first race out of the way. I was quite nervous going in, but after finishing, I’m reasonably happy.
“(Emotions are) a bit mixed. Very cool to finish my first race and get everything out of the way, just have the full experience of a Formula 1 race weekend. At the same time, disappointed with how I performed. The car had pretty good pace. I made a couple of mistakes; one lock-up and one at the start, so I dropped a bit further down than what I would have liked. Overall there was just more potential, and that’s why I’m not so happy.”
Norris was one of a number of drivers to get held up by Giovinazzi, who was lapping slowly due to damage sustained early on. After seven laps stuck behind the Alfa Romeo, Norris finally made a pass stick into Turn 3, but by then a gap ahead had opened that allowed the likes of Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat to pit and emerge in front.
“It was too late,” Norris said. “It cost me the positions on Kvyat and Stroll, which obviously put me out of the points in the end. I’m a bit annoyed because there was a lot more potential. The car had the pace to be in the top 10, and basically I let everyone down. So I need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”