Lando Norris describes his health struggles and weight loss in Sao Paulo

Jon Wilde
Lando Norris at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2022.

Lando Norris stands between McLaren colleagues at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix. Interlagos November 2022.

Lando Norris has opened up about the health struggles he endured at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix on his 23rd birthday weekend.

For the entire four days at the Interlagos circuit, the McLaren driver was battling against a stomach virus that even put his participation in jeopardy.

The Briton skipped his media commitments on the Thursday and his team went to the extent of arranging a seat fitting for Nyck de Vries, who was selected as the potential substitute.

But even though he did not look to be his usual chirpy self, Norris declared himself good to go – and still performed creditably, especially in the circumstances.

He qualified an excellent fourth on Friday in a rain-affected session and finished seventh in the sprint, before incurring a five-second time penalty for a collision with Charles Leclerc early in the race before his car broke down, meaning he had to park up trackside with 20 laps remaining.

That was far from being the ideal birthday present, but at least Norris’ condition was improving after a difficult few days.

“I was in a bad way. I’m a bit better today,” Norris told reporters after the race.

“I didn’t eat or drink for two days. I lost 3.5 kilos. I really struggled a lot.

“Everyone thought I was fine after Friday because I did a good job, but it was quite the opposite.”

Although it was not the result he would have wanted, especially from a team perspective, Norris felt his premature exit from the race had saved him from going through the mill physically in the closing stages.

“I started to struggle a bit and then my race was over,” said the man who remains the only podium finisher this season from outside of the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes teams.

“I could have a bit of food in me before the race, I could get some fluids in me which is probably the most important thing on such a hot day.

“I’m sure if I didn’t break down and I’d made the end of the race I’d be in quite a bad condition.

“I don’t think it cost me anything today, we were just very slow.

“Maybe on Friday in qualifying there were some little mistakes and misjudgements, but I always felt when I was in the car and on my lap, especially a qualifying lap, I could do what I needed to do.

“But longevity [was difficult] by the end of the sprint – I was in a very bad condition.”

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