McLaren’s Lando Norris has admitted that he was surprised to hold off the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas during the Austrian Grand Prix, calling it a “strange feeling” to experience.
Norris enjoyed a good battle with Hamilton but lost time to him and Bottas at the pit stops due to a time penalty that had been accumulated. In the end, Norris was able to go past Hamilton, which led to praises over the radio, calling Norris “such a great driver.”
Regarding the race, Norris said: “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.”
“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 realize you have a chance against them. It’s hard to ever say that until you’re actually racing against them and your car’s there and you’re going head-to-head.”
Despite the praise, Norris has said that his competition with Mercedes was not something waged purely on how the car performed, as he pointed out the fallibility of the Mercedes drivers.
“Like, as much as I appreciate the kind words it’s not like he was driving perfectly,” Norris said. “There were still times he ran wide out of Turn 1 or made a mistake in Turn 3.”
Norris has said that this weekend was a good learning experience and that he got to learn how Hamilton and Bottas approach racing in F1. He also praised McLaren’s race pace and was delighted with fighting for podiums consistently.
“It was the first time I’ve really raced against him and you know you get to learn how he drives and how he races as well as learning from Valtteri and how he approaches things and when there are risks taken and things like that,” Norris said.
“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.”