Lando Norris believes he has taken some of the pressure off himself by picking up his first points with sixth place in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The McLaren rookie has qualified in the top 10 at each of the two races so far this season, but failed to convert in Australia and finished outside of the points. In Bahrain, a poor start didn’t faze Norris, who climbed back through the field to finish sixth after Nico Hulkenberg’s late retirement, and he says he gained valuable experience as well as picking up the strong result.
“I think between qualifying and the race it was definitely one of our strongest for some time,” Norris said. “There’s a lot of work to do to be constantly here and beating the midfield guys. But our race seemed better than anticipated because we thought we were better in qualifying trim than we were gonna be. For my first two races of the season, although Australia could have been a bit better, I think I made up for it here.
“Just getting another experience of a race is very nice. I can obviously do a bit more … more use of buttons on the steering wheel, attacking, defending and so on. I gained experience in a few areas which I just couldn’t do in Australia because you couldn’t overtake and do different strategies. I think that made it more enjoyable and gives me more confidence for the next race and what I need to work on. I’ll be able to not rely on my engineers telling me so much stuff, to react quicker and make some more of my own decisions. So from that side of things I’m moving forward.”
Norris was caught behind Antonio Giovinazzi for a number of laps in Melbourne but after fighting through from 14th place at the end of the opening lap in Bahrain, he says there was much more excitement being able to fight for positions.
“I think I had a pretty good move on (Pierre Gasly). He braked so early and it caught me out, so I had to go onto the dirt on the left and then I just did him ’round the outside, Hulkenberg as well, but there was a little bit of contact and I ended up off the track.
“But I just enjoyed the whole race — it was good fun. And it wasn’t like I was just driving by everyone — I had to do my thing and had my fair share of racing, so it was much more enjoyable than Australia.”