Despite beginning and ending in seventh place, Norris faced difficulty with the medium Pirelli tyres in the early stages of the race, resulting in a loss of three positions before a fifth-lap pit stop to switch to hard tyres during the 44-lap race.
The British driver described this phase of the race as “dreadful” due to his entrapment between defense in the first sector and inability to overtake later in the lap.
Norris elaborated: “It was a dreadful experience – just the blunt truth. We found ourselves in a repeating cycle of not being able to exert enough pressure in the mid-sector due to the cars in front and having to ease off in Eau Rouge. We were lagging.
“I was being overtaken even before the DRS zone came up. So, we had to strategize. Switching to the hards was a move that turned out to be even worse. No one had even opted for the hard tyres all weekend.
“We felt it usually suits us well, so it seemed a good gamble to take. However, it was still awful. I didn’t have sufficient laps to warm up the tyres and start pushing.
“I was overtaken in my very first lap after leaving the pit.”
Norris mentioned that his tyre woes were separate from the MCL60’s downforce levels, stating that it’s a more ingrained problem that the team has been grappling with for half a decade.
Kevin Magnussen, Haas VF-23, Esteban Ocon, Alpine A523, Lando Norris, McLaren MCL60
Photo by: Andy Hone / F1 Flow Images
He went on to add: “It’s about how our suspension treats the tyres. Everything like this is not at the desired level. It’s a matter of balance, not just about adding weight to the vehicle.”
Considering his rocky race start, Norris was perplexed as to how he managed to claw back to seventh place. He expressed that he felt like he was at the tail end for the majority of the race.
“Then we switched to the soft tyres and things seemed to swing back in our favour,” he expounded. “I’m clueless as to how I ended up in the seventh position. Truthfully, I felt like I was trailing for most of the time.
“So, I’m a bit taken aback. We clearly need to reassess our strategy for the weekend.
“Things like wing level might be effective on [this circuit], but they don’t yield results on all of them. We obviously got it wrong this time.”
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Norris believed that McLaren faced challenges refining its car setup at Spa as the team had recently concentrated on maximizing their primary car upgrade package.
He shared: “All our efforts were directed at that, which is the right thing to do.”
However, Andrea Stella, team principal, denied any connection between the upgrades and race execution. He clarified that the design office prioritized enhancing overall performance over developing a low-drag rear wing specifically for the Belgian track.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Lando Norris Belgian GP
Where did Lando Norris finish in the F1 Belgian Grand Prix?
Lando Norris finished in seventh place in the F1 Belgian Grand Prix.
What difficulties did Norris encounter during the race?
Norris struggled with the medium Pirelli tyres at the beginning of the race, causing him to lose three positions before a fifth-lap pit stop to switch to hard tyres. This proved to be even worse for Norris. He mentioned his struggles were independent of the MCL60’s downforce levels, suggesting a more systemic issue with the car and its tyre handling.
What was Norris’s strategy to overcome the challenges?
In an attempt to overcome his challenges, Norris pitted on lap five of 44 for hard tyres, despite no one else using hard tyres throughout the weekend. Later in the race, the team switched to soft tyres which helped swing things back in their favour.
How did Norris describe his experience in the Belgian Grand Prix?
Norris described his experience as ‘dreadful’ and ‘terrible.’ He felt stuck in a cycle of not being able to push enough due to cars ahead and the need to ease off in certain areas. He was also overtaken even before the DRS zone started, which added to his frustrations.
What was the team’s reaction to Norris’s performance and the car’s setup issues?
Team Principal Andrea Stella denied any correlation between the recent upgrades and the race execution. Instead, he stated that the design office had prioritized improving the overall performance at the expense of developing a low-drag rear wing for the Belgian track.