Portuguese GP: Lando Norris Confesses Keeping Leclerc Behind was “Stressful”

Published 05/03/2021, 2:11 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – April 29, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouys


Lando Norris has been in the form of his life lately. Three races are done and dusted, and the McLaren driver finds himself in 3rd place in the championship. This is largely down to Norris’ incredible consistency on the racetrack, having finished in the Top-5 in all three races so far.

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The British youngster stormed to P5 at the Portuguese Grand Prix after a fierce battle. The McLaren driver later confessed that the race was equally “fun” and “stressful”.

At Imola, Norris had displayed incredible pace over a single lap, but there was none of that at Portimao. On that day, he wound up on the podium at Imola, his 2nd career podium.

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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

Admittedly, the driver started the race in Portimao a little lower down the order than he would have liked. However, he managed to scythe his way up from P7 with a bunch of overtakes to 5th. Of course, Norris did not have an easy run as he had to fend off relentless attacks from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

What did Lando Norris say about the Leclerc battle?

“The car felt good,” he admitted. “It was still not easy to drive, still quite tail happy a lot of the time, especially when it gets windy, but we’ve obviously made a lot of progress, and compared to the other guys, we had very good pace.

“So I’m happy, but it wasn’t like it was easy. Charles was pushing me a lot for the whole [final] stint. So we’ve still got work to do to make my life easier, which is always nice, but we’ll keep pushing.”

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Having said all that, Lando Norris confessed that he had fun in the first half of the race. However, he was pushed really hard in the second half, trying to keep Charles Leclerc at bay and managing his medium tires. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo also battled his way up from P16 to finish 9th.

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

The double points finish helped McLaren maintain their position in the constructors’ standings at P3. It is also worth noting that they are the only team to have both drivers finishing in the points at every race so far. However, Norris warned against being too complacent, despite the outfit’s progress.

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Dhruv George

11433 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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