Lando Norris scoffs at Red Bull’s race pace concerns ahead of the Japanese GP

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris looking very serious in the press conference.

Lando Norris looking serious.

Lando Norris scoffed at Red Bull’s concerns about their long-run pace at the Suzuka circuit as they have not had “bad” race pace in “four or five” years.

Max Verstappen will start Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix from pole position ahead of Sergio Perez and Norris, the latter three-tenths down in qualifying.

‘I don’t think they’ve had a bad race in the last, four or five years

But it’s the team’s long-run pace that is worrying Red Bull ahead of the race.

“So far I haven’t been happy with my long runs,” said pole-sitter Verstappen.

“The pace wasn’t what I would have liked. So there’s a bit of a question mark going into [the race] because looking at the long runs especially Ferrari, they looked very comfortable.

“Maybe they were not so quick over one lap but they looked fast in the long runs so we’ll have to wait and see how that will evolve in the race.

“[McLaren are] also quite decent. I’m just not very happy with myself and how my long run was so naturally, everyone else looks a little bit better.”

Perez also stated he does “not think we are looking great at the moment in our long-run pace”, but their concerns have been brushed aside by Norris.

“They complained about their race pace, but I don’t think they’ve had a bad race in the last, four or five years, so I think they’re going to be good,” said the McLaren driver.

He, however, is hoping to mix it up with the Red Bulls on Sunday.

“Obviously last year I was side by side with Max into Turn 1. So hopefully trying to redo that. But it’s tricky. They’re quick,” he said.

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Asked if he felt Sunday’s race was his best chance to beat at least one of the Red Bull drivers, he replied: “I’ll say yes. It’s so tricky.

“Sergio’s doing a good job, so that’s one much harder car to kind of keep up with. But we proved last year when we were further away from them that we could keep in touch and not be miles behind. So that will be our target.

“But I think realistically, we’re still too far away to challenge them. They’re too quick for us.

“Yes, we are quicker in qualy, but in the race, normally, they always pull away a bit more. So, I think we’ll be realistic. I’m always realistic when I say it.

“So I think our competition’s with the guys behind. And at the same time, I’ll do my best to push forward.”

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