Austin bumps left Lando Norris reaching for the headache tablets

Jon Wilde
Lando Norris puts his hands over his ears. Baku, June 2022.

McLaren's Lando Norris wearing a cap and putting his hands over his ears. Baku, June 2022.

Lando Norris was unhappy with the Circuit of The Americas track surface – which left him looking for the headache pills.

Bumps had been a feature of the Austin layout at the 2021 United States Grand Prix and officials took the step of arranging resurfacing work earlier this year.

But it had not smoothed out the issue completely and Norris in particular found it to be a problem on his way to finishing a fine sixth, thanks to a spate of overtaking manoeuvres in the second half of the race – despite having a car that had sustained damage from running over crash debris.

“I had to take a high dose of headache pills,” said the 22-year-old Briton, quoted by

“All the bumps really caused me problems. It feels like internal abrasions in my head or something.”

Norris, who said he had noticed the bumps, holes and cracks on the racing surface during his trackwalk, wants more action to be taken ahead of next year’s return to Texas.

“That’s not the standard of Formula 1, it really shouldn’t be,” he added. “The one half they resurfaced was better, yes. But still not as good as it should be.

“Last year, probably nobody would have complained. But now, in the new cars, we are all complaining.”

Among the drivers Norris passed to finish sixth was Fernando Alonso, his most important rival given McLaren are in a direct fight with Alpine to finish fourth in the Constructors’ World Championship.

There was a further bonus for McLaren hours after the race when a Haas protest was upheld, with Alonso deemed to have driven an unsafe car with a mirror dangling loose following his collision with Lance Stroll.

The Spaniard was given a 30-second penalty and dropped from seventh to 15th, leaving McLaren only six points behind Alpine, although Alonso’s team have launched a counter-protest that will be heard on Thursday night.

“I knew there was a small chance I could still catch Fernando in the last laps but everything had to go perfectly for that,” said Norris.

“I don’t know exactly how much damage Fernando had. Mine on the front wing and the fairing on the left front tyre cost me some downforce and lap time. But he probably had more than me.

“I was stuck behind him a bit until he made a mistake at Turn 11. It was a very close duel, we had some moments. Sometimes I looked in the mirror and thought ‘we’re going to crash!

“But if there’s one driver on the grid I trust more than anyone else, it’s Fernando. He may be the last driver you want to race against with a few laps to go, but he’s also the fairest and most respectful.”

Read more: Why disproportionate Fernando Alonso penalty shows FIA must reverse course