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That’s why Lando Norris McLaren’s secret number one

Formula 1 was different: Max Verstappen triumphed in Imola, Lewis Hamilton succeeded in a great catch-up to second place and yet at the end it was Lando Norris, who showed the greatest cheer over his third place and jumped into the arms of his crew with joy.

On nearly 30-round-old soft tires, the McLaren pilot fought to the finish and saved the podium from the two Ferraris. The great end of a true mountain and valley journey that teammate Daniel Ricciardo could only observe with more than sufficient safety distance.

I am really happy. The start was not so good, but then I came back well,”resumed Norris, who had entered the race from square seven. There would have been so much more in it: the 21-year-old in Imola won a fabulous round on Saturday, which could have put his McLaren in one of the first series. But Norris’time was canceled. Tracklimits.

The disappointment about this was huge for the British, as he showed with a photo in the social networks.” My mistake, I misjudged it,”Norris wrote. He was comforted by Landsmann Hamilton: “No one can blame you for giving everything. Great round, it’s nice to see you and the team shine like this.”

Ricciardo’s bitter racing moment: McLaren waves Norris by

Especially after McLaren had a hard time fighting in Emilia Romagna on Friday. The third force in Italy? It seemed far from the Woking team to start the weekend. Norris ended Friday as the rear, Ricciardo as 18. A setback for the boys with a new Mercedes engine in the rear.

But they returned on Saturday, especially Lando Norris. And laid the foundation for a successful Sunday. Ricciardo also had to contribute to this. The Australian from square six got a better start, was in front of Norris. The Brit radioed that he was faster than his teammate. Saturday drama, Norris was bursting with confidence. And McLaren said, “Daniel, we need to see Lando’s real Pace,” Ricciardo got his ear. Demonstratively, he went off the gas a few turns later, passed Norris by. And thus cleared the way for the podium.

Norris irons Ricciardo and finds favor in the duel around the top places

That the 21-year-old could distance his teammates to four seconds within a few laps, Norris made it clear. And prove once again, the young man must not be underestimated. Maybe he’s even the secret number one on the team. Sympathetic, relaxed, always for fun, and yet insanely ambitious, blessed with a great deal of talent, professional and self-employed.

Even if a possible “winner” Ricciardo obviously still needs some adjustment time to leave the Australian in his new cockpit, and Fairplay at McLaren is very popular: We can look forward to this team-internal duel in the future.

Norris has at least found favor in the fight in the top group: “I knew that in the end it will be very difficult against Lewis. It’s nice to fight the boys in the front. I hope this will continue in the future.”As the British saved the result over the rounds, they deserve special praise. McLaren eventually sent him out on the soft red tires after the race was interrupted by the crash of Valtteri Bottas and George Russell. However, Hamilton, Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz chose the yellow tyre.

McLaren team leader “could not be happier”

But the team could rely on Norris, first using the advantage of the soft tyres to overtake Leclerc, then managing the rubber and its lead to the finish line. That he had to give up Hamilton? Gift, he played again on Sunday in another league.

“The result for us is great. In the second race a podium right after a sensational ride from Norris, I couldn’t be happier,”said team leader Andreas Seidl.”I can’t be happier.” This shows us that we have built a good car. I’m very pleased. I am also very pleased with Daniel Ricciardo. He’s still having a hard time driving our car to the limit. He did not overtake the car and drove as well as he felt comfortable.”Only: Norris felt much better.


More about it: Notes and individual criticism of the Grand Prix of Imola


Of course, he has also been in the McLaren since 2019. Even so: Ex-McLaren driver Sainz is already at eye level with top pilot Leclec in the Ferrari. Ricciardo’s not quite there yet, he turned sixth. Barely half a minute behind his teammate.

Seidl: Norris also matured outside the cockpit

That Ricciardo had to clear the way for Norris in the race, Seidl explained: “We have clear agreements with the drivers. If we estimate that we need to make a swap to maximize, then we do that. We have two drivers who also understand this.”

Means in plain language: Norris would also have to wave by his teammates without murmuring. But if he keeps this up, there’s not much danger. Because the 21-year-old has evolved. He also took a step forward as a guy outside the car. That’s to be expected. When I see him working with his engineers, too. It becomes clearer what he needs to call off his services. We will have a lot of fun with him,”not only Seidl.

Alessa-Luisa Naujoks

&copy knows at the latest since Imola; RTL