Lando Norris’ unanswered Imola prayer revealed in cool-down footage

Michelle Foster
Lando Norris in the post-race press conference

Lando Norris speaks with the media in a press conference

Lando Norris missed out on a second Grand Prix victory at Imola on Sunday as he finished 0.7s behind Max Verstappen at the line.

It, however, could’ve been a very different story had his prayers been answered on the day.

Lando Norris missed out on the Imola win by 0.725s

Although Verstappen dominated the first two-thirds of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, what had been a rather pedestrian race ignited with 13 laps to go when Norris began to close in on Verstappen.

As the Dutchman complained about a lack of grip and his battery not charging, Norris brought the gap down to almost a second only for his Red Bull rival to up his pace.

But with his tyres going, Norris again closed up to run with DRS range in the closing laps but alas fell 0.725s shy of the victory.

It was not his day, the McLaren driver bringing out a chuckle from Verstappen as he revealed his one big moment of excitement that turned out to be misleading.

“Someone went through the gravel,” he told the reigning World Champion, “and I was like, ‘Please be Max!”

How the 2024 team-mate tussles are shaping up

F1 2024: Head-to-head qualifying record between team-mates

F1 2024: Head-to-head race statistics between team-mates

But that wasn’t Norris’ only prayer as, the quicker of the two in the closing laps, he prayed there was still one more lap to go.

“I was just praying for one more lap,” Norris said. “I was just praying for someone to say one more lap. I don’t know why.

“But yeah, I mean, I just did everything I could. I was pushing like hell to get there and catch up and have a chance.

“But as soon as you get within two seconds, you start to lose downforce and grip. The tyres start to overheat again.

“I kind of struggled for a couple of laps, but once I understood how I had to drive again, like the last lap I managed to get there, and seven-tenths, like one more lap, at least he would have had to defend into Turn 1, and maybe something could have come from that, but one lap too late.

“It’s a shame, but it is what it is, and we just struggled too much in the beginning of the race.”

Norris is fourth in the Drivers’ Championship after his Imola haul, the driver on 101 points with Verstappen leading on 161.

Read next: Follow’s WhatsApp channel for all the F1 breaking news!