Lando Norris: Alpine have done ‘bad job’ to only just be ahead of McLaren

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris on the grid. Montreal June 2022.

McLaren driver Lando Norris listens to an engineer before the race. Canada June 2022.

That Alpine are only 24 points ahead of McLaren indicates they have “done a pretty bad job” with a car that is “better” than the McLaren, says Lando Norris.

McLaren and Alpine have been fighting for fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship all season, the rival teams walking away from the Austrian Grand Prix, the halfway point in the campaign, tied on points.

Since then though, Alpine have pulled ahead in the standings bit by bit to hold a 24-point advantage with eight races remaining.

Norris feels given how much better the A522 is compared to the McLaren MCL36, they should be well ahead by now.

“Alpine have been ahead of us pretty much since day one of the season,” Norris told the media at Monza on Friday.

“Genuinely have been ahead of us. There are maybe three or four races this season when we might just have been a bit quicker than them.

“Otherwise, through the majority, and quite easily the majority, they have had the better car.

“So for them to only just be ahead of us in the championship is more that we’ve done a very good job and they’ve done a pretty bad job.

“When you see the margins of qualifying from them to us sometimes, their pace in the race compared to us sometimes, it’s never that much the opposite way around.

“They have a better car, they’ve just done a worse job throughout the season and made more mistakes, things like that – had more problems with the car, whatever.

“Fernando in Australia was on for what, P2 or P3 in qualifying? And we were miles away. So they’ve had a better car pretty much all season.

“We’ve done a better job with the car we’ve had this year. Now they are just ironing out a few more of their problems and issues and maybe also improved the car a bit more than we have and taken a few more steps.”

Norris and his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo are back at Monza this weekend, the venue for McLaren’s last 1-2 result.

Last season, Ricciardo took the chequered flag at the Italian Grand Prix ahead of the Briton, but this year Norris doubts either driver will be fighting for a podium finish.

Daniel Ricciardo, Lando Norris and Zak Brown, McLaren, celebrate after a one-two at the Italian GP. September 2021.

“In general, we are not as competitive compared to last season,” said Norris.

“Also, everyone else has taken some good steps forward, such as Alpine.

“Competition is tough at the minute. Ferrari are a long way ahead of us as well. So it’s an extra two cars which we have to get out of the way if we want to be back on the podium.

“I don’t know, I think we’ll still try and give it our all. I think we don’t come into races thinking ‘this is where we were last year, we should do exactly the same’.

“Zandvoort I personally think was a lot better for us this year than last year. So some things are definitely better.

“But it’s obvious we’ve not had as many podiums and good qualifyings as last year.

“That’s just simply because the car as a balance throughout the season has not been as good.”

Ricciardo has also poured cold water of the idea of fighting for the win this weekend.