Lando Norris felt bad starts cost him potential victories at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza last weekend as the British racer lost ground in the FIA Formula 2 championship to George Russell.
The Carlin driver felt he did not get the most out of Qualifying on Friday afternoon, and as a result he started the Feature race on Saturday from sixth on the grid but dropped a couple of places at the start, before finding himself involved in a battle with Russell, Alexander Albon and Nicholas Latifi.
He pushed hard to stay ahead of Russell, but tyre degradation meant he fell behind him, before he slipped down to sixth on the penultimate lap as he struggled with his tyres to the chequered flag.
“Bad starts in both F2 races this weekend have cost me possible wins as the car’s race performance was pretty good,” said Norris. “I lacked pace in qually, didn’t get the most out of my tyres on my second run and made a mistake at Ascari.
“My start wasn’t great in the Feature race, not finding the bite point which resulted in a slow getaway losing me places. For the first four laps, my pace on the ‘options’ was good but then I suffered big rear tyre degradation and struggled.
“Unfortunately, our pit-stop was a little slow so I had to push hard to get ahead of the guys I’d slipped behind again. I went around the outside of George at Turn 3 and pulled alongside but ended up off the track. I got grass and gravel on my [left] tyres which took 2-3 laps to clean off. I eventually got ahead of him, but he then got me back as my tyres went off.”
Norris began the Sprint race from third but fell to eighth on the opening lap but despite showing good pace, he was unable to better fifth, although he was close behind Latifi in fourth when the chequered flag fell.
“My Sprint race start was poor with too much drive and wheelspin – the total opposite to my bad one the previous day – and also picked up some damage to my front wing,” said Norris.
“The car’s pace though was pretty good and tried my best to recover positions which took a lot out of my tyres again.”
Norris experienced his second free practice session in Formula 1 on Friday morning in Italy, and although he finished twentieth and last, his running was limited as his McLaren F1 Team wanted to conserve tyres, while he also found what he felt were going to be quicker laps compromised by traffic.
“The F1 session was short but clean,” said Norris. “McLaren needed to conserve tyre usage but I was happy with my pace, initially on wets then inters, in the few laps I did.
“I was set to improve my lap time but was baulked by traffic on two of my ‘push’ laps. I still learned a lot comparing data with Fernando [Alonso] for example. I also didn’t find the difference between the F1 and F2 cars so big like I did at Spa the previous weekend.”