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Formula 1 Spanish GP

Norris didn't expect F1 points in Spain even before Hamilton clash

Lando Norris says he anticipated it would be a struggle to score points in Formula 1's Spanish Grand Prix even before picking up wing damage in contact with Lewis Hamilton.

Lando Norris, McLaren, on the grid with his engineer

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

McLaren driver Norris qualified a season-best third in Spain, but his hopes of a points finish were curtailed on the first lap when he clashed with Hamilton's Mercedes at Turn 2 and had to pit at the end of the opening tour.

Hamilton escaped without significant damage and went on to finish second.

Speaking after he was eventually classified 17th, Norris stressed that even before the contact he expected points would be hard to come by due to McLaren's ongoing struggles for pace and with several drivers starting out of position further down the field.

Mercedes driver George Russell recovered from 12th to finish third, while Sergio Perez's Red Bull secured fourth from 11th on the grid.

Norris said: "The pace was as expected today, which was bad. I don't think we expected anything else really.

"Our aim was to maybe finish in the points, but we weren't expecting anything like yesterday."

Asked whether points would have been possible without the impact with Hamilton, Norris replied: "Probably not, no."

He then added: "Because we're slow, we have been all year. I don't know, there's nothing else to say.

"Yesterday was a special day. Some good teams struggled a lot and some of the worse teams did a better job, so it was just an odd day, people making a lot of mistakes and we just capitalised on that.

Norris clashed with Hamilton at Turn 2 as both Verstappen and Sainz ran deep into Turn 1 and caused the Mercedes to check up

Norris clashed with Hamilton at Turn 2 as both Verstappen and Sainz ran deep into Turn 1 and caused the Mercedes to check up

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

"Apart from that, we've been off the pace all season, struggling to finish in the points in half the races. And today was just that again. There was the expectation that we would have had a very difficult day today.

"We're clearly nowhere near as quick as Alpine, Aston or all of these top-five, top-six teams.

"There's no point in thinking 'we're going to finish in the points' because we're just not quick enough."

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Explaining the clash with Hamilton, Norris said it was triggered by Hamilton checking up to avoid Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz as they were recovering from running wide while contesting the lead into Turn 1.

Describing it as "just a racing incident", Norris explained: "I did see in Turn 1 that Max went off the track, went a bit wide, so then he had to bounce over the kerb in Turn 2 and then everyone just checked up.

"I was too close to Lewis to be able to react and brake and whatever. So just an unlucky moment. Lewis was fine, he didn't do anything wrong."

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