Lando Norris Reveals Deliberately Backing Out of Verstappen Overtake in Imola

Published 04/22/2021, 6:36 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – McLaren’s Lando Norris in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


McLaren driver Lando Norris had an amazing weekend at Imola. Having impressed everyone with his Saturday pace, the Briton pulled out an even better showing on race day to take home his second F1 podium. However, there appeared to be a small window of opportunity for Lando to take the lead just after the restart following the red flag, or at least he believes there was. He didn’t take that opportunity, and he recently revealed why.

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Norris was behind Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen at the time of the restart. Using his soft compound tires to his advantage, the Briton breezed past the Ferrari of Leclerc and had Max in his sights. Although Verstappen would eventually pull away from the chasing pack, Norris reckons he could have led the race for a few laps.

He said, “I could have overtaken Verstappen, I think. Maybe not, but I could have at least tried. 

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Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during the race REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

“But I would not finish on the podium, I think, if I tried. I would have killed my tires and Leclerc would have got past me.”

So, in hindsight, Norris did make the right decision to conserve his tires. In fact, he almost managed to keep a rampaging Lewis Hamilton behind him on quite old softs. So, kudos to his tire management in Italy. He deserved his P3 finish, especially after the heartbreak the previous day.

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Lando is heading into the third race of the season with 27 points in the bag. That’s almost twice more than his teammate Daniel Ricciardo and is good enough to keep him in third place on the Drivers’ championship standings.

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Formula One F1. Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy. McLaren’s Lando Norris in action during qualifying REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

It is certainly great to see the amount of improvement Norris continues to make season after season. Some even tout him to be future championship-winning material, and it’s not hard to see why.

For now, his focus would solely be on the race in Portimao. He finished P8 last year at the same track, but it looks as though Norris will better that this time around.

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Can he make it back to back F1 podiums come May 2? We shall soon find out.

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Ronan Carvalho

1063 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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