Lando Norris rues start error and ‘too many mistakes’ that cost him P5

Sam Cooper
Lando Norris talking to his engineer. Monza, September 2022.

Lando Norris said his car being in the wrong mode was the reason why he endured such a poor start to the Italian Grand Prix.

The young Briton lost four places in the blink of an eye after he took an age to get moving from the starting grid at Monza. By the time he had recovered and was back into race mode, he found himself down in P7 behind Fernando Alonso.

From there, there was plenty of work to do if he was to salvage back the positions he lost and to Norris’ credit, he did just that as by the time he made his first pit-stop on the 36th lap he was running in P4.

But there were further mistakes from the team as a slow pit-stop saw him sit stationary for five seconds before re-emerging into the pack behind eighth-placed Pierre Gasly.

When asked the reason why he had made such a poor start, Norris said there was a mistake with the launch settings and that, combined with other errors, meant he missed out on a potential P5 finish.

“There were some mistakes with the launch settings, things I couldn’t change or adapt,” he told F1.com. “So I was dealing with a car which wasn’t made to do a launch, basically, which meant I went into anti-stall like two or three times and it lost me a lot of time, a lot of positions and probably cost me fifth place.

“So I would say quite disappointed because I feel like I did a very good job when I drove well. We just made too many mistakes.”

Norris managed to finish P7 in what was looking like a very good day for McLaren in their battle for P4 in the Constructors’ Championship with Alpine, but a late Daniel Ricciardo retirement meant the race ended on a sour note.

Norris was also heard telling his team to stop talking to him later in the race as he focused on driving, but insisted he was relaxed.

“I perform better when I’m relaxing, when I’m chilled,” the 22-year-old said. “Of course, you just want to be able to be in your zone and concentrate and do your thing.

“We would have finished P6, I think, if there wasn’t a Safety Car. We didn’t ‘box’, which is maybe another mistake.

“I’m just good at driving and therefore just little things [like] updates on gaps and stuff I just don’t need when there’s five laps to go. I can see it in my mirrors. So I was relaxed, I felt like I was doing a very good job, just I don’t like people talking to me, that’s all.”