Lando Norris admits he was extremely frustrated by his last-lap retirement in the Belgian Grand Prix but a tragic weekend puts the result into perspective.
McLaren struggled on Friday and Saturday, with Norris dropping out in Q2 and starting from 11th place. An excellent run to the first corner enabled Norris to emerge in fifth and he duly opened up a significant gap to the rest of the midfield before losing power as he was starting his final lap and being relegated out of the points. With the race at Spa-Francorchamps taking place less than 24 hours after Formula 2 driver Anthoine Hubert was killed in a crash at the circuit, Norris says his frustration will be short-lived.
“’F••K!’ — I screamed that extremely loudly on my radio, so I’m sorry to all my engineers and everyone!” Norris said. “From our side of things, of course we’re disappointed. I’m very disappointed because it’s happened a lot this season. I lost power, simple as that. I was on for P5.
“I just about made it onto the last lap and then it all went wrong. I started to lose power coming into the final chicane, and that was about it. I lost power, it went into anti-stall, and that was me done.
“Disappointing — that’s obviously a big negative of course, we lost a load of points. We lost a very good result, what was going to be my best result of the season, but at the same time I think other people are in worse situations than I am right now and what we are as a team. So although we’re disappointed I don’t think we can be unhappy with our situation at the moment.”
McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl admits the overall race performance was a surprise, given the pace the car had displayed throughout the weekend.
“I think we had some pace in the car,” Seidl said. “I think Lando did. I mean, lucky in Turn 1, OK, but then seeing the pace he could do, together with the team doing the right thing with the tires as well as strategy. The race was really fully under control regarding the other cars we are fighting with. So there were positives.
“Very interesting now to see the analysis in the next week, what the reason was that we could suddenly be the fourth-fastest car, because we didn’t expect that with the strategy we had on Friday and Saturday. We made a step with Lando in qualifying so we were only a tenth away from Q3, but I expected a different race.”