Norris reacts to Hamilton's Austrian GP ‘great driver’ compliment

Lando Norris says competing against Mercedes and Red Bull during Formula 1’s Austrian events made him realise “it’s not like they’re not raceable”, while responding to Lewis Hamilton’s in-race compliment.

Norris reacts to Hamilton's Austrian GP ‘great driver’ compliment

Hamilton and Norris fought over second place during the opening stint of last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring, following the McLaren driver’s controversial clash with Sergio Perez, which left the Red Bull driver in the gravel and Norris handed a penalty.

After Norris had defied Hamilton for 15 laps, the younger Briton defending harder and longer than he had against Valtteri Bottas and Perez during the preceding Styrian GP at the same venue, the world champion said, “great driver, Lando”, over his team radio after passing by.

Norris eventually repassed Hamilton when the Mercedes driver’s pace slowed after he picked up damage to his left-rear brake duct when running heavily over a kerb but finished third behind Bottas (and dominant winner Max Verstappen) as he fell behind the Finn when his penalty was applied at his pitstop.

When asked by Autosport how it had felt racing against the Mercedes and Red Bull, as well as his reaction to Hamilton’s radio message, Norris replied: “Thanks. I don’t know what to say.

“It was tough, it wasn’t easy.

“Like, the whole of the first stint I think both Mercs were quicker than me, which was not a surprise, something I was expecting, but to hold them off as well as we did was a little bit of a surprise and for that long into the race.

“But it was like it was the first time I’ve really raced against him.”

Norris also explained how the battle had allowed him to witness Hamilton’s driving close up for the first time in his F1 career, with his McLaren squad having one of its strongest showings in recent seasons after Norris beat both Mercedes and Perez to qualify second behind Verstappen.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL35M, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

McLaren’s form for the second Austrian race was even stronger than it had been in the Styrian round, where Norris started third (after Bottas’s penalty for spinning the in the pitlane in FP2 had been applied) and finished fifth.

The team utilised excellent straightline speed and corner exit traction, as well as key updates added to the floor of the MCL35M, as well as fine-tuning its set-up and tweaking its strategic approach following the Styrian race.

“You get to learn how he drives and how he races – as well as learning from Valtteri and how he approaches things – when there are risks taken and things like that,” Norris said.

“Like, as much as I appreciate the kind words, it’s not like he was driving perfectly.

“There were still times he ran wide out of Turn 1 or made a mistake in Turn 3.

“It’s not like they’re not raceable.

“You kind of get there and when you have the car to perform and do well, you realise you have a chance against them.

“It’s hard to ever say that until you’re actually racing against them and your car is there and you’re going head-to-head.

“Normally, they’re way too far ahead of me, so it was cool.

“It’s a good feeling to race against not just Lewis, but Valtteri as well and Max and Sergio.

“To be in that pack and say we’re fighting for a podium because our pace is just that good, was a really good feeling.”

shares
comments

Related video

The ‘other’ Mexican F1 driver who is aiding Mercedes’ empire-building goals

Previous article

The ‘other’ Mexican F1 driver who is aiding Mercedes’ empire-building goals

Next article

Ex-F1 racer Carlos Reutemann dies aged 79

Ex-F1 racer Carlos Reutemann dies aged 79
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Plus

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021