McLaren’s Lando Norris couldn’t resist a friendly dig at Carlos Sainz as the pair spoke to media in Spain on Thursday.
Norris and Sainz were seated alongside each other for the drivers’ press conference ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix on Thursday, with Sainz asked about his happiness at returning to race in front of his home crowd as one of two front-running Spanish drivers.
The pair are close friends, stemming from their time as teammates at McLaren prior to Sainz’s departure to Ferrari, with Sainz and Norris being a popular ‘bromance’ over 2019 and ’20.
“I do know that it puts me in a better vibe,” Sainz said, when asked about whether his home crowd help him find a few tenths.
“This weekend, I am just in a better mood when I race at home and I do things with more interest.
“I do things with a bit more energy, always try to put a smile with the fans because you just know they’re cheering for you and giving you that extra bit of push.
“Spain is the circuit where I have scored the most points in my career, together with Monaco and Austin, so it must be something good to me.”
Norris couldn’t resist a little dig towards his former teammate, turning and smiling at Sainz as he was asked whether he believes the Spaniard does race in better mood at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“Yes, apart from when I beat him in quali here a few years ago [in 2019], I think so!” Norris joked, with Sainz smiling and saying, “You did?”
“I did, I was very happy!” Norris laughed, having clearly forgotten that Sainz got his revenge by beating Norris in qualifying and the race at the 2020 event.
“But yeah, home races are always more special. So I mean, even being his teammate, it was always cool to see how many fans there were for him here and so on.”
Lando Norris confused by McLarens’ wet-weather performance
While McLaren struggled for pace during the Monaco weekend, the wet weather towards the end of the race saw Lando Norris come to life as one of the fastest drivers on the grid – so much so, that Norris was able to overtake a struggling Yuki Tsunoda into Ste. Devote to move into ninth place, a move Oscar Piastri was able to replicate a few minutes later to give McLaren a double points finish.
As Norris was asked about how McLaren had one of the fastest cars of all in the rain, the British driver coyly replied: “Car… or driver?
“Probably moreso than in the dry, yes. It’s the same car in the wet, I don’t know why it would be any better in the wet than in the dry but it was certainly a lot of fun.
“It’s a difficult track in the rain. A lot of risks taken but, yeah, it’s always tough to say. Of course, there are some little things that maybe lead us to believe that it was bit better in the wet than in the dry but I wouldn’t say we were that impressive in the dry. We looked good, Friday, and Saturday morning-ish.
“And then qualifying, we didn’t look too impressive. The rain on Sunday, things definitely came towards us a lot more and the pace was one of the best on track, but we definitely don’t have one of the best cars, so it’s a bit confusing!
“But, at the same time, if we can have some rain or something that can help us out then, yeah, I would definitely be looking forward to it.”