Lando Norris made the best possible start to his 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship campaign by dominating the Feature race at the Bahrain International Circuit last weekend, doing so from pole position and with the fastest lap.
The McLaren F1 Team junior helped Carlin Motorsport take a victory in their Formula 2 debut ahead of team-mate Sergio Sette Câmara, with the Briton adding a fourth place in Sunday’s Sprint race to ensure he left Bahrain as the Championship leader.
“A win and fourth place puts us in a good place for the next couple of races in terms of the championship,” said Norris. “Winning the Feature race was a great way for me to start the season and with Sergio [Sette Câmara] making it a 1-2 for Carlin made it even sweeter.
“My start was good and I was comfortable in my opening stint. I wasn’t quite as happy with my pace after the pit-stop. I struggled a little with the tyres but that may have been because I pushed too hard after the stop for the fastest lap.”
Whereas his Feature race performance was near perfect, his Sunday drive was almost compromised by a brief engine blip that saw him lose power for a few seconds exiting the final turn, with the time loss seeing him drop briefly behind Luca Ghiotto. Luckily the issue did not return and he was able to reclaim the position, but he could not find a way passed team-mate Sette Câmara.
“The start of today’s race was hectic with George [Russell] stalling which caught me out,” said Norris. “I was up to fourth but there was a long race ahead so wasn’t pushing too much.
“But then when I shifted up coming out of the last corner it seemed to go into neutral. I pulled off to the right but then first gear suddenly engaged.
“It cost me around four-seconds. It meant I had to work the tyres more to catch up Sergio which wasn’t ideal. I managed to get alongside at Turn 4 but couldn’t quite get past.”
Norris’ weekend started with him taking pole position, but despite doing so he felt there was more time to be found on his best lap, and he knows there will be pressure on him to be more consistent in the future events.
“It was good to get ‘pole’ but I wasn’t totally happy as I didn’t do a perfect lap,” said Norris. “I made it difficult for myself with mistakes on my first run.
“The pressure was on me when George [Russell] improved the ‘pole’ time by around seven-tenth’s. I pushed as hard as I could but still made some errors, running wide at the last corner. We will remain focused and try to be consistent in the coming races.”