Formula 1 Racing

Norris grateful Piastri “made my life easy” when team ordered swap · RaceFans

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Lando Norris said he appreciated his team mate giving up a podium finish in his home race for him when McLaren ordered the pair to swap positions.

Oscar Piastri ran behind Norris early in the race but moved ahead of him through the pit stops. However McLaren later told him to let Norris through.

Piastri, who was on course for a podium in his home city Melbourne, complied. Norris empathised with his team mate but said “I was a lot quicker and I would have overtaken him anyway.”

The team’s decision to swap the order of their cars gave them a chance to fight Charles Leclerc for second place, said Norris. “You don’t want to delay the process of that happening,” he said. “The longer I spent behind him, the worse it was making my chance of catching Charles and trying to be ahead of Charles.

“So I don’t think the result changed at all. He made my life easier and he helped us as a team which I thank him for a lot and we have a lot of respect for one another in these kind of situations.

“I don’t think the result changed at all. But for any driver who’s racing in front of their home fans, you want to be on the podium.”

Norris was pleased by his car’s pace in Melbourne, but doesn’t think they could have fought for a win. “I didn’t expect probably us to be competing against the Ferraris today,” he said. “I think our pace was not as good as Carlos, but probably better than Charles.

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“So I think if I was being honest we maybe missed out a little bit on an opportunity to be P2 today.”

McLaren’s attempt to get Norris ahead of Leclerc ran into trouble when the Ferrari driver came in on the very lap they intended for their driver. “The lap we were going to undercut, he boxed,” said Norris.

“So then again you have to go off and do kind of a different strategy. We got close in the second stint, I got very close. If I boxed, I think I would have undercut. But he boxed, so I missed that opportunity.”

After finishing third behind the Ferraris, Norris said he was encouraged by the team’s performance.

“You always think, what happens if we did it one lap earlier? But it’s tough to make all those decisions at the time and it can easily go wrong at the same time. There are always consequences of doing so.

“I think we still did a very good job today. Third and fourth for us, as a team, is positive and a good load of points. But they were clearly a better team, and they have a better…

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