Lando Norris hates talking about lacking experience, but having more of it undoubtedly played a big part in his impressive 2021 campaign.
In what was his third season with McLaren and in Formula 1, Norris elevated his performances to a new high, making the podium four times with a best finish of P2 at the Italian Grand Prix, where team-mate Daniel Ricciardo took the win.
He was also mighty in qualifying trim, contending for pole on several occasions and achieving it at the Russian Grand Prix, the first of his career.
The Briton finished the season P6 in the Drivers’ Championship with 160 points, 45 clear of Ricciardo.
Norris is not comfortable making a point about experience when it comes to his progress in this third season, but naturally, the continuity of staying in a series and with the same team between multiple seasons has been a key factor.
“I always hate to leave an excuse as ‘lack of experience’,” he said, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“Like, saying ‘oh, I’m just not as experienced’ is such an easy thing to use, and I’d hate to say lack of experience.
“I hate having to say that sometimes, and I didn’t want to believe that having that break in the winter and coming back knowing everything a bit more subconsciously is going to make much difference.
“But also, because I’ve never done more than one season in any category since starting in cadets, it was hard for me to know the differences through the years.
“I’m very happy at least with the progress I made from last season working on those weak areas, I think I turned some of those into strengths. Some of them still need some work but overall, we’ve done a much better job.
“The other things I did well was especially the first half being very strong. I think we came out at the start of the season extremely strong and I think we maximised what we did very well.
“We maximised every opportunity we had to get onto the podiums to make the most of other people’s penalties and stuff.”
That being said, Norris knows going forward that he must cut out some of the mistakes which he still made in 2021.
In particular he picked out the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, where Norris made contact with Carlos Sainz as he tried to pass his former team-mate around the outside at the start.
“There’s definitely been a few places where I’ve made mistakes for sure, like Brazil, which was probably one of my biggest mistakes of the season,” he admitted.
“It’s such a small thing but it cost us a good amount of points and a possible race with Ferrari and to be ahead of them in that race.
“Maybe two or three other races where I just haven’t been on it, maybe just one or two positions down, but I don’t think any of which have put me out. I’ve not had any proper big crashes which have cost me points I think.”
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