When the skies opened up over the Zandvoort circuit, Lando Norris pleaded with his McLaren crew to switch to intermediate tires. Nevertheless, McLaren joined other teams like Mercedes and Williams in playing the waiting game, hoping the rain would soon pass.
As the track continued to get slicker, Norris exploded with irritation at his engineer’s suggestion to remain on the track, bellowing: “Are you kidding me, are you out of your mind?”
Ignoring his team’s advice, Norris finally took it upon himself to pit at the end of the third lap. However, by then, it was too late. The young British driver, who had commenced the race from the front row, saw his chances at a podium finish go up in smoke.
Reflecting on his heated radio exchanges, such as the one in Zandvoort, Norris acknowledged that he often comes off as “a fool,” a realization that typically dawns on him only post-race.
“We had a chat about it,” he said when probed by F1 Flow.com regarding the recent incident with his team.
“In hindsight, I often think, ‘Man, I sound like an utter fool,’ and I totally get it. However, those I’m in direct contact with understand that I would never genuinely feel that way,” Norris explained.
“We did bungle some of our strategic choices and radio calls. A lot of it boils down to being caught in the heat of the moment. I can’t explain it; I always come off as a whiner on the radio, which irks me to no end. I actually feel quite cool and composed in the cockpit, but listening to myself later, I’m like, ‘Who is this guy?'”
“We’ve had some lapses in communication, where the info was not as precise as it should have been. It can get grating, but we’ve reviewed it and are confident these mistakes won’t be repeated,” he assured.
Despite the public scrutiny he often faces for his candid radio comments, Norris believes that the understanding he shares with the Woking-based team, where he’s been driving since his F1 debut in 2019, is all that truly matters.
“Look, people are quick to judge from their armchairs, but my team knows my true colors,” Norris added. “As long as there’s a mutual understanding between us about how we work and communicate, that’s all I need on my end. So as for the peanut gallery on social media? I’m aware but also kind of indifferent because, at the end of the day, I’m just trying to do my job to the best of my ability.”