Lando Norris claimed his first podium at the Austrian Grand Prix, but there were moments where he thought he’d lost the opportunity.
After qualifying in P4 on Saturday, the McLaren man made a steady start to remain the first of the drivers behind Mercedes and Red Bull.
In the closing stages, an opportunity to take his first podium was presented to him when Lewis Hamilton and Alex Albon collided. The Red Bull dropped down the order and the Mercedes was hit with a five-second time penalty.
Norris took it, setting the fastest lap of the race at the death to get within five seconds of Hamilton and move up to P3, and he surprised even himself by doing so.
“There were a few moments where I thought I fudged it,” he said after the race.
“I dropped to fifth with a few laps to go and Carlos nearly passed me and I managed to get back past Checo and I ended up on the podium.
“It was a good race, a hard last few laps to push as hard as I can. I’m so happy for the team to achieve what we have given where we were a few years ago.”
Massive congratulations to Lando Norris!
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) July 5, 2020
Norris’s main rival throughout the race was the Racing Point of Sergio Perez. After starting just behind him, the Mexican got ahead when his team opted to give him medium rather than hard tyres when the first Safety Car came out.
He remained ahead of the Brit in the closing stages but was given a time penalty for speeding in the pit-lane which would drop him down after the race.
Despite this, Norris still passed him on-track and says doing so was critical for his podium hopes.
“The last few laps when I had to get past Checo I saw he had a five-second penalty,” he added.
“I was vulnerable to the guys behind but I had to try and get past him and then there was the Lewis penalty so I had to get past him and try and push it – it’s a lot about rhythm here… and I’m very happy.”
With his P3 finish, Norris is now the third-youngest driver ever to stand on the podium, behind only Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen. He’s also the first British driver asides from Lewis Hamilton to do so since Jenson Button did in 2014.