Lando Norris has revealed he thanked the Mercedes drivers during the race after they crashed into Turn 1 and took themselves out of the running.
Whatever plans Mercedes may have had for the Qatar Grand Prix quickly went up in smoke when Lewis Hamilton attempted an overtake that was not there on his team-mate George Russell in the opening corner.
The result was inevitable as the two made contact, leading to Hamilton’s retirement and Russell finding himself at the back of the field, which was a great result for McLaren.
Lando Norris thankful for Mercedes’ Turn 1 incident
Both McLaren drivers were the lucky beneficiaries of the Mercedes coming together with Norris going on to finish third while Oscar Piastri recorded his first P2.
After the race, Norris admitted he thanked the drivers once they hit each other.
“Initially a little bit because we had such a big gap,” Norris told Channel 4 when asked if he was surprised team orders came into play. “They seemed to be worried about George and the Mercedes. We expected them to be very quick today but they did a lovely job of just getting out the way into Turn 1.
“I thanked them inside my helmet, I actually said thank you.
“I’m not 100% sure I could have got past Oscar today. The dirty air makes a big difference here on the circuit and his pace was good. I was definitely quicker and I think if I started higher up, which is down to my undoing of making too many mistakes on Friday and yesterday, then I would have fought for a better position but I didn’t.
“I made my mistakes. I paid the price for my starting spot and I did the best I could to fight back, it just wasn’t enough to get past him.”
Norris may have been frustrated during the race but denied that team orders was the cause of it, instead suggesting it was his own qualifying performance.
“Everyone wants to beat everyone,” he said. “I don’t care if it was Oscar or any other driver. You want to beat them and you want to do the best you can for yourself but they asked me to stay behind and I did.
“I could have probably pushed a bit more than what I was doing but I was just happy with the P3 and P2. That isn’t the frustration.
“My frustration is that I could have fought for victory and that’s what I missed out on.”