Norris excited to return to ‘special’ Spielberg

Henry Valantine
Lando Norris, McLaren

Lando Norris

Lando Norris called the Red Bull Ring a “special place” for him, having earned his first Formula 1 podium in Austria last season.

In the opening double-header of the season, Norris put in the fastest lap of the race as he tried to keep up with Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages, who had a five-second penalty to be applied at the end of the race.

The young Briton managed to stay within that margin and was elated on team radio afterwards, as he earned his first P3 finish in Formula 1.

Now the next two races will be hosted in Spielberg, the McLaren driver says he cannot wait to get going again.

“I’m really looking forward to going racing in Austria for the next two weeks,” Norris said in the team’s pre-race preview. “It’s a special place as it’s where I got my first podium in Formula 1.

“We had two strong back-to-back results in Austria last season, so I’m hoping we can have a similar two weekends this time out.

“We can’t get ahead of ourselves as a lot of things are different from last year, like the car and tyres.

“We’ll go into these two races with our heads down and take it one step at a time to try and have two results like we managed in France, but also working hard on improving our qualifying performance.”

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Norris said he’ll be talking to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo after their close encounter in France at the weekend, but the Australian put in arguably his best performance so far for McLaren at Paul Ricard.

He said previously that he’s been targeting the triple-header to fully bed into his car, but he feels the weather could well play a part in Austria.

“I’m looking forward to having another race on the bounce and a double in Austria. It could be a wet one – maybe even for both weekends,” said Ricciardo.

“We could get two very different races, you never know. I think it’s just a good opportunity for me to keep working on the car and myself.

“Hopefully, we can build on the performance we had in France and find some consistency we’ve been looking for.

“We’ll try and get some more points for the team in Austria. It’s close out there and every weekend counts, so we’ll be pushing.”

Team principal Andreas Seidl added that, even though it’ll be a double-header around the same circuit, the team will still be gearing up for both races in the same way as they would approach any other weekend.

“Two races back-to-back at the same track presents an interesting challenge as we could have two very different races due to certain conditions such as the weather,” he said.

“So, it’s important we treat every race as a single event with the same preparation despite it being the same track.

“As a team we must continue to work hard to maintain good reliability and remain on top of parts management during this intense period.”

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