Lando Norris reveals why Max Verstappen’s winning margin is actually ‘not concerning at all’

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris climbs into his McLaren.

Lando Norris isn't concerned by Max Verstappen's advantage.

22 seconds up the road from his nearest rival in Bahrain, Lando Norris says Max Verstappen’s winning margin is not “concerning at all” given the head start Red Bull had with their 2024 car.

Dominating last year’s championship with 21 wins from 22 grands prix, including a run of 10 wins for Verstappen, Red Bull had the titles all but mathematically sewn up even before the summer break.

Lando Norris: ‘I don’t think it was concerning at all…’

That meant the Milton Keynes squad could turn their attention to 2024, and this year’s heavily revised RB20, long before their rivals could shift focus.

In fact, Red Bull spent so much of last year working on this year’s car that team boss Christian Horner joked that the biggest upgrade they brought to the track was revising their livery.

That head start paid off in Bahrain as the reigning World Champion stormed to the victory, 22s ahead of Sergio Perez, and a further three in front of Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz.

“I don’t think it was concerning at all, honestly,” Norris told the media in Saudi Arabia of Verstappen’s dominance in Bahrain. “Considering that they spent a lot of time developing and making a new car for this year.

“I’m pretty happy with how close we were to Red Bull. Even in qualifying, it wasn’t like Max had an easy one and it was that convincing.”

McLaren started the season with a double points haul, Norris P6 in Bahrain with Oscar Piastri eighth.

“I’m sure they are still learning about the car,” the Briton continued. “It’s a very different concept they have. They started their development on that car a long time before everyone else, so not a surprise at all.

“But I see a surprise at how close we were and how close a lot of teams were. Signs of hope for everyone, I would say.” recommends

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Piastri shares Norris’ optimism that all is not lost, especially if they qualify ahead of the Red Bulls.

“I feel like there’s some optimism and some hope,” the Australian said. “It’ll be interesting to see where we are this weekend.

“Looking at the strengths and weaknesses of our car and the strengths of the Red Bull, hopefully, we can be a bit closer here and at some other circuits, but it wasn’t as bad as some races last year.

“The biggest thing for us was that two-tenths would have put us P2 [in qualifying], and even looking at [Charles] Leclerc, he had the quickest lap [in] Q2 that would have put him on pole.

“So, I think the chasing pack is not too far behind.”

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