Lando Norris said his spin at the end of FP1 for the Russian Grand Prix had not been his fault.
The McLaren driver arrived at Sochi fresh from his highest ever race finish in Formula 1, taking second place at Monza last time out behind his team-mate Daniel Ricciardo.
Another podium finish this weekend certainly does not look beyond the Briton, especially considering Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc will be starting at the back of the grid due to engine penalties.
It was on his way back into the pits after the chequered flag had fallen in FP1 that the 21-year-old had spun, sustaining front-wing damage to his MCL35M.
However, Norris insisted that had not been due to any loss of concentration – it merely resulted from an issue with his Mercedes power unit.
“It wasn’t my fault, not an embarrassing spin,” Norris told Formula 1. “Something happened with the engine. I damaged the front wing as well, which was not what we wanted at the end of the session, or at all.
“But I think the whole day was a bit up and down. We struggled quite a bit in FP1, but made quite a few changes on the car for second practice and definitely improved it quite a bit. Left with a more positive feeling at the end of today going into tomorrow and Sunday.”
The chequered flag brings FP2 and our practice on Friday to a close.
— McLaren (@McLarenF1) September 24, 2021
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Although Ricciardo and Norris were given a helping hand in Italy by the crash that took both Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton out of the race, it would be unfair to say they were lucky.
However, the greater number of slower-speed corners suggests the former Winter Olympic Games site does not suit McLaren as much.
“Some of our strengths at Monza aren’t as shown here and there are more of the weakness corners where we are just not as strong,” explained Norris.
“It can still feel relatively good but just doesn’t translate to an actual lap time, so I wouldn’t say we are as competitive as at Monza that’s for sure.
“But there’s still a decent feeling and we can be competitive compared to Ferrari and AlphaTauri and the people we are really racing against.”