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Norris: Self-criticism led to some of my best F1 races in 2023

McLaren driver Lando Norris says being extremely self-critical led to some of his best Formula 1 race performances in 2023, with some of his top results following errors in qualifying.

Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60

James Sutton / Motorsport Images

Norris finished sixth in the 2023 drivers’ standings, marking his joint-best championship finish in his F1 career, with a personal best of seven podiums.

But it was his McLaren team-mate Oscar Piastri who took one of only two non-Red Bull wins from 28 possible chances, after the Australian won in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint from world champion Max Verstappen.

PLUS: An apology to Lando Norris

Norris felt there he “should have fought for two pole positions…and potentially two victories” but for qualifying errors, while a late Q1 mistake following a fuel system check in Mexico meant he started down in 19th before charging back to fifth.

The British driver also lost a chance to claim pole for the Abu Dhabi GP due to a mistake in the final sector of his last Q3 lap.

Norris was notably self-critical after his most high-profile mistakes in 2023, saying “I’m so shit sometimes” over his team radio after his track limits error in Qatar GP qualifying.

McLaren team principal Andrea Stella was then moved to say in Abu Dhabi that “the way he addresses his own performance, I think deserves attention because he just seems very harsh on himself”.

Lando Norris, McLaren, talks to the media

Photo by: Jake Grant / Motorsport Images

Lando Norris, McLaren, talks to the media

But Norris himself said: “As much as I get annoyed with myself on Saturdays at times and people are like, ‘you shouldn’t beat yourself up’ and all of that stuff, a lot of my best performances come then on that next day.”

“And it doesn’t effect me when I go and drive the next day, because I’m like, ‘oh I still just messed up Saturday’,” Norris added in an exclusive interview with Autosport.

“Just because I say it and things, it doesn’t mean that. And I think a lot of people have different opinions on it, but I’ve always been that way.

“Since karting, I’ve always been like that. It’s the way I got brought up and it’s the way I’ve developed into being the driver that I am today.

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“And, at times, maybe it’s not the best thing and I do get just very frustrated and down over a lot of it, but just because I care about doing a good job and trying to deliver for the team. So, I do it, not that I just purposely try to do it, but because it’s just the way that I work best. And it’s the way that I’m able to bounce back best.

“Therefore, I’ve always just been very honest when I think I’ve done a good job and bad job.”

Norris also said of his overall performances in 2023 that “it was clear that there’s places I need to work on and places I didn’t always deliver as much as I should’ve done”.

He continued: “But there’s also a lot of cases of once that did happen, how did I comeback from that and overcome that the next day?

“Which was generally the letdowns on a Saturday and making up for it on a Sunday. And I think I did exactly that.

“95% of the time was, yeah, even when I made those mistakes, which I’m always happy to admit and I’ve always said and so on, was how do I bounce back the next day and turn up on Sunday with the kind of clear mindset of, ‘ok, I’m starting in this position, how can I do my best job from here?’

“And I think all of those races genuinely were… actually turned out to be some of my better races!”

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