‘You blink at the wrong time, you’re going to be in the wall’

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris pictured through a fence. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Lando Norris drives close to a wall in free practice. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Lando Norris acknowledged the drivers are going to be tested to their limits on “such a difficult track” in Saudi Arabia this weekend.

The McLaren driver said he enjoyed the challenge of taking to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit for the first time, which had arrived on the calendar as the second-fastest circuit in Formula 1, only behind Monza in terms of average speed.

But the narrow track is surrounded by walls, and the fast corners provide a difficult task for the drivers to negotiate quickly.

Charles Leclerc got stung by suffering a snap of oversteer at the high-speed Turn 22, and he careered into the barriers and heavily damaged his Ferrari – but he was able to walk away from the wreckage relatively unharmed.

With danger lurking around every corner, Norris thinks any lapse in concentration could be costly.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Norris told Formula1.com after Friday practice. “Such a difficult track, especially sector one – you blink at the wrong time, and you’re going to be in the wall.

“It’s tricky to concentrate so hard and so much at the speed we’re going, but it’s a fun circuit, it’s an exciting one for sure.

“It keeps you on your toes for the whole lap, which is always a good thing.

“In terms of our day, [it’s] probably not been the best of days. I think we struggled a little bit more than we thought, which kind of sucks, but we’ll see if we can turn it around tomorrow.”

It was a difficult day for the McLaren pair overall as neither finished in the top 10 in second practice, with P8 in FP1 for Daniel Ricciardo being the peak of their performance on Friday.

However, Ricciardo echoed his team-mate in enjoying the circuit overall, although there are a few obstacles to negotiate – from his point of view, actually knowing where he’s going for a start…

“It was good fun,” said the Aussie. “In Qatar, after the first, second lap I was like ‘ah, this is good fun’.

“I had to say it today when I got back to the pits after the first run, because it’s busy. It keeps you on your toes, but it is fun.


“It’s a good track. Really high speed but lots of good flow to it. It kind of all looks the same, so you have to talk yourself through each corner: ‘Okay this is this corner, this is that corner, fourth gear, okay this is now fifth – it’s a maze.

“The grip’s good, so on a track like this which is [a] fast street circuit, it’s nice to feel something like that.”


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