Lando Norris crossed the line at Sunday afternoon’s Hungarian Grand Prix in seventh, 62 seconds behind the Ferrari driven by Charles Leclerc in sixth place. And the downbeat McLaren driver admitted he had hoped for a little bit more in Sunday’s race after starting on the second row…
Norris qualified in fourth in Budapest – his joint-highest qualifying position of the year – after showing strong pace for much of the weekend. And after making a good start on the soft tyre, he maintained his position and held off the challenge of Lewis Hamilton in the opening laps.
However, after being passed by Hamilton and then Max Verstappen on Lap 11, Norris came into the pit lane for the medium tire and made his way back up the field, before running a lonely race on the hard tire for his final stint, finishing 62.2 s behind sixth-placed Leclerc – much to his irritation.
READ MORE: Hamilton says Mercedes have ‘potential to win’ after ‘pretty epic’ drive to second in Hungary
“We did [have a good performance] against the people we are racing really,” said Norris. “Just if you think of P4 as a grid position then you expect a little bit more on Sunday. And to end up 62 seconds behind just the next car ahead of me, it’s a big challenge to do anything more from that, so therefore our race was against Alpine and the cars behind me.
“The first stint, I think I destroyed my tire after like six laps, and I was very worried, because we aimed [to pit on] Lap 20 or 25 or something.
“Our pace on the medium tire, and I think our pace when there weren’t any issues with tires and management, was strong. And stronger than Alpine today, which is good news and a good sign but yeah, we just seemed to destroy those tires a lot quicker than everybody else.
READ MORE: ‘We made all the right calls’ says Verstappen, as he pulls off spin-and-win in Hungary to extend lead to 80 points
“It didn’t really go to plan at all… So, that’s the only thing we have to really work on, but the middle stint was strong and the final stint was easy, I was just on my own and hoping for the race to end. Challenging but we did everything we could, and P7 I have to be happy with.”
Race ‘didn’t go to plan’ for Lando Norris, with P7 finish in Hungary
Speaking after the race, McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl said Norris’s seventh-place finish was the maximum they could have hoped for in Hungary, as he lauded the improvements made by his team over the last two races.
“Lando executed a clean race today to take that seventh place,” said Seidl. “With all six cars from the top three teams finishing the race, P7 was the best we could achieve today, and we did it. The upgrade we introduced at Paul Ricard and improved our understanding of here put us into position to be the fourth-fastest team, which is a great achievement.”