Lando Norris promises he will attack Max Verstappen if the opportunity arises in the Austrian Grand Prix even though he expects to have a slower race car than Red Bull and Mercedes.
The McLaren driver produced a stunning performance in Q3 to secure second on the grid, giving the team its first front row start since the 2012 Brazilian GP. Last week Norris started from third but didn’t not fight Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas too hard as they passed him in the opening part of the race as he prioritized beating the likes of Ferrari, but he says he won’t pass up an opportunity to lead if it comes his way on Sunday.
“We’ll do our best to try and take a step forward and go in the right direction; but you know, it wasn’t like we were exactly close last weekend, and now we have that little bit more of a step,” Norris said. “I don’t want to be too negative — I want to be optimistic, as I should be. But I’m also realistic and know that it’s going to be a tough race.
“We’re in the best position possible to maximize everything. If I have a chance to go for P1, a chance to race Max and go for it, I will. I’m still doing that — I’m still racing, still doing the best I can. I think I also know what’s best for us, what’s best for myself, best for the team and sadly who we’re racing against in the race tomorrow.”
Norris was actually ahead of Verstappen’s pole time into the final corner but says a Mercedes weakness there meant he couldn’t remain on pole, and he doesn’t have any frustration at coming so close after finishing just 0.048s shy.
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“It feels really good, to be here beside Max and Sergio (Perez) — feels like we made a good step forward from last weekend with a couple of things. I was kind of… not frustrated, but I thought there was a little bit more in it last weekend, especially to be ahead of both Mercedes cars and that’s what we did today.
“The whole of quali was pretty good, pretty straightforward — good laps and so on. Definitely saved the best until last, did my best lap in Q3 run two, so I’m obviously very happy. I’ve a great position for tomorrow — I think we maximized everything we could today. Also only four hundredths away from pole, it would have been nice to do that little bit more, but I’m happy where I am.
“I think most corners, I definitely did my best laps on. I was actually just behind Max; I was P2 on track so I was a bit nervous that I was going to start losing a lot in the straights, which I did. But I made up for it in the corners. Especially the high-speed, I took quite a few more risks.
“That’s where I found a lot of lap time, it paid off in the end, so yeah, it’s a cool feeling, especially around here. It’s an awesome track to really push on and find those last couple of hundredths, especially taking the risks, not taking the risks, so on. It was a good feeling and I definitely rewarded myself nicely.”