Pundit senses ‘a little bit of needle’ between two leading F1 drivers

Michelle Foster
Restart in Mexico with Max Verstappen pulling away from Charles Leclerc.

Max Verstappen pulling away from Charles Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton.

Getting the better of George Russell at the Mexican Grand Prix, Peter Windsor believes McLaren’s message to Lando Norris showed there’s a “bit of needle” between the two Brits.

Racing Russell for fifth place in Mexico, Norris pulled off a clever undercut as he switched back on the Mercedes driver when Russell ran a bit wide and opened the door.

Norris jumped on that and eased passed Russell with the McLaren driver quick to hog the racing line and close off any opportunity for Russell to fight back.

‘There’s a bit of needle there between George and Lando’

That battle saw McLaren warn Norris about Russell’s style, the pit wall telling him: “We know what Russell is like, he’s all or nothing, So you just have patience with him.

Norris, determined to beat his compatriot to the line, didn’t have any patience at all and Windsor puts that down to a “bit of needle” between the long-time rivals.

“He had George Russell to pass and this was not going to be easy, of course, because George was on the mediums as well. Lando is flying on the mediums in the McLaren, and they’re both Brits,” he said in his YouTube stream.

“And of course, there’s a bit of needle there between George and Lando.

“Indeed you can sense in the McLaren pit they’re thinking, ‘this is going to be a bit of an issue’. And they got on the radio and said ‘George is the sort of guy that’s all or nothing, be a bit careful’.

“And yeah, as if Lando was going to listen to that.”

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Windsor applauded both drivers for their clever thinking in the battle as Russell tried to protect his position and Norris realised he couldn’t attack in the same move he’d just pulled on Ricciardo.

Instead of trying to go around the outside of Russell as he’d done with Ricciardo, Norris pulled off the undercut to take fifth place off the Mercedes driver.

“Lando did kind of the same thing on George, fainted and nearly got passed at the end of Turn One at the end of the straight but didn’t,” the former Ferrari team manager continued.

“And then they accelerate down to the second chicane, and George does the right thing and sort of protects the inside, he’s centre of the road, and Lando does the right thing and doesn’t then do what he’d already done to Daniel and try to get on the outside.

“But what he does is just throttle back a little bit, waits for George to come out a little bit wide on exit, tucks back down the inside, call it the undercut, and there he goes inside into the hairpin, the right-hander Great passed by Lando.

“A really, really good drive for him after an unbelievably disappointing qualifying session. And towards the end of the race he looked like the guy that should have been out there running P2 or definitely racing with Lewis Hamilton because that McLaren looked so good.

“How good Lando looked around Mexico, it’s a sort of fluid circuit where Lando Norris can really show how good he is in terms of smoothness, steering application, throttle application, short corner, long corner.”

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