Lando Norris admitted he is happy after what he achieved in Imola apart from that little mistake that cost him P3 in qualifying.
On Saturday, the English driver put in a stunning lap that provisionally put him in P3. However, he exceeded the track limits, and his time was deleted, meaning that Lando had to start seventh on Sunday.
“On the whole, I’m very pleased with myself, but [also] the team as well,” said Norris. “I think apart from Q3, it was a pretty perfect weekend, I want to say. We improved the car a lot over the first couple of days from Friday into Saturday, and through the sessions, and so on. We didn’t start on the best foot, but we improved a lot.
“I feel like I did a very good job in qualifying, and it was the first time I only had to do one run in both Q1 and Q2. So I did good enough laps to save the tires, give myself a good opportunity into Q3 and be pretty close to pole position and then almost P3, and then get down to P7. So, was near-perfect from my side and the team’s, I think we did a very good job.
“I was disappointed yesterday, so to come back to third today after a pretty eventful race for myself and I’m sure the others as well as rewarding for myself, but more importantly, the team.”
Lando also kept the second position during the race for a long time after that the team opted to use the soft tires. However, Lewis Hamilton overtook him with just three laps to go. Despite that, Norris said he was happy that the team’s strategy paid off in the end.
“It was tough,” said Norris. “We decided to go on the softs. I wasn’t so confident to get the tires working [and] it’s not an easy track to overtake on. Lewis might say otherwise.
“But it was, I think, the right decision. Apart from Max’s little moment, I thought Charles [Leclerc] was going to drive ahead of Max on the restart as he was off-track. [He] didn’t take advantage of that, but he had a lot of wheelspin on the restart when Max went, and that’s the fault of the mediums and their decision.
“So we decided to go on the softs. I got a good launch, a good restart, and got ahead of him. I pretty much started saving the tires from lap one after the restart, knowing that the last couple of laps were going to be pretty tough. And they were, especially with Lewis at the end.
“A lot of focus in the last couple of corners, getting the deployment right, using the battery in the right way. So I was trying to save up as much as possible. But in the end, I didn’t have enough rear tire out of the last two corners and the chicane to hold him behind. But I tried.
“It was a nice little battle. It’s nice to be racing unusual cars, I guess, for us – a Red Bull, a Mercedes and Ferraris, things like that. It’s nice to be going up against them so hopefully, we can have some of that in the future.”