Lando Norris jokes about wanting ‘funny’ blue flags for Max Verstappen in Monaco

Jamie Woodhouse
Lando Norris speaking with Max Verstappen and a smiling Carlos Sainz. Monaco May 2022

McLaren driver Lando Norris speaking with Max Verstappen and a smiling Carlos Sainz. Monaco May 2022

As McLaren set the timing screens alight in Monaco’s wet-weather running, Lando Norris joked about how “funny” it would have been if runaway victor Max Verstappen saw the blue flags, “because he would have hated it”. 

McLaren’s pace in the dry was nothing to write home about, but then the threat of rain came into play, several teams, including McLaren, monitoring pockets of rain in the area.

When it arrived it was the area around Mirabeau which saw the biggest initial impacts, the rain later intensifying and spreading to the rest of the track, prompting a swap to intermediate tyres, with some going for the wets.

And as the rain eased off for the closing laps, it was not Verstappen far up the road in P1 who was setting the ultimate pace, it was in fact McLaren, Norris hunting down and passing AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda for P9.

How sweet it would have been then, says Norris, if amidst all of this Verstappen was shown the blue flags to let a faster Norris unlap himself.

When pointed out by Sky F1 that he had great pace towards the end on the intermediate tyres, Norris replied: “In the end, yeah, the intermediate pace was probably…I don’t know how true it is, I’d say the quickest on track.

“Even quicker than Max, I wanted Max to get blue flags, probably the first time in his life he would have had blue flags, it would have been amazing.

“So I was really hoping to pass him just because he would have hated it and I would have loved it and it would have just been funny, but he was leading the Monaco Grand Prix, so I also didn’t really want to intrude too much.

“But the pace was actually very, very strong. Like I said, quickest on track in the end.” recommends

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Norris though does regret the team’s call to have originally switched him to hard tyres at his first pit stop, having been told that the rain which was coming would not be heavy.

“I think the only mistake was we boxed onto the hard tyre in the middle for two laps, and then we went onto the intermediate,” Norris continued.

“We just didn’t expect it to rain, or the team told me it wasn’t going to rain a lot, they said it was going be very brief and a little bit, so then I was of course happy to box with the information I had, but probably should have just waited a couple more laps just to see what did happen.

“We maybe lost 30 seconds, which would have put us up two, three positions at least.”

But for the positives of that mighty pace on the inters, which Norris suggests more comes down to how much risk the driver is taking, he could not overlook McLaren’s “shocking” pace on the dry rubber.

“A lot of positives, I mean maybe just the intermediate pace, the dry pace was pretty shocking,” he said. “We were pretty slow. Yuki was a lot quicker than us.

“From the dry not many positives, from the intermediate, I guess, as much as I hate to say it, it just doesn’t matter as much about the car and it’s more like just how much risk you want to take. Especially here, it’s a lot about how much risk you want to take and I was risking it a lot.

“But it paid off with the pace that we had, to get past Yuki as well was important, so it was a lot of fun.”

McLaren did slip behind Alpine in the Constructors’ Championship after the Monaco GP, now down to P6 and with 18 points to make up on the Enstone outfit.