Norris: ‘I could have finished P8 if more of a rebel’

Sam Cooper
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 said he could have finished eighth had he ignored team orders and been “more of a rebel” in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

For one of the few times this season, the two McLaren drivers had similar pace in Baku with both wanting the other to move aside at certain points in the race.

Early on, it was Daniel Ricciardo who was quicker but the Australian was told Norris would not be moving aside as he was attempting to overcut Fernando Alonso. Later it was Norris who believed he could get by Ricciardo but was told not to overtake.

The Briton seemed confused by the decision but was told they were returning the favour for Ricciardo’s earlier teamwork.

Speaking after the race, Norris said it was the correct decision by the team but had he been a “bit more of a rebel” then he believed he would have finished P8 rather than P9 in Baku.

“I think I’m a team player,” he told “I accepted I can’t overtake at the end and I couldn’t go for the position. Daniel helped me out in the middle. It was one lap he wasn’t allowed to overtake me on. If the return favour is to not overtake at all in the last three laps, I guess I have to accept it.

“I think it’s fair. I don’t think what we did was incorrect. It’s just you’re racing, you always want to push it, you always want to find what the limit of it is. But I could have done it when I was at the inside into Turn 1 and I gave way to him and then let him through.

“I could have finished eighth if I was a bit more of a rebel. I accept what we did as a team, I think what we did was strong. Our aim was to be in the points with both cars and that’s exactly what we did, so I’m happy with that.”

Norris did, however, admit he may not have been so co-operative had he been battling for the race win or a podium place.

“I think if you’re fighting for a championship or something or top three, maybe it will be slightly different. But at the minute, we just want to be high as a team. I accept that’s the priority over anything else.

“Maybe for pride, you want to finish higher in the championship as a driver, but it honestly doesn’t change too much if I finished eighth, ninth, seventh, sixth.

“My goal is to win one day, therefore I think still the quickest way of doing that is to race well as a team and get the maximum points as a team. And that’s what I did today.”