Lando Norris felt fifth was the best result possible during Sunday’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix, particularly after his difficult start that saw him drop outside the top ten.
Having picked up a grid penalty on Saturday for not going straight into the pit lane following a red flag, the McLaren F1 Team racer started ninth rather than sixth on the grid, and he dropped to twelfth at the start.
However, he was able to capitalise on a few incidents ahead of him to move back into the points, and he was able to make up two more positions on the restart towards the end following the red flag for Max Verstappen’s crash to finish fifth.
“Happy with the end result today, fifth was the best we could do,” said Norris. “It was a long race with it being difficult to overtake in the middle.
“There were a few crashes here and there that allowed us to gain a few places, and then two overtakes on the final restart was great. I think it was a good recovery from where we were at the beginning of the race after a pretty poor lap one, just because I got unlucky.
“A decent amount of points for us as a team. Onto the next one!”
“We had some positive moments, but also a few difficult periods” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finished ninth in what was another tricky weekend for the Australian, but he felt there were a few positive moments amid the difficulties to take away from the Baku City Circuit.
Ricciardo started outside the top ten but was not able to make the same kind of gains as Norris during the race, although he was lucky to survive a hit from behind from Antonio Giovinazzi on the late race restart after the Italian clipped his left rear wheel heading into turn two.
The Australian felt his pace was good on the hard tyre prior to locking up and causing a flat spot, which made driving a little trickier, but he felt he couldn’t do much else at the restart once Giovinazzi had made contact.
“There were moments today in the race where I was thinking ‘I hope it becomes a bit more exciting’ and suddenly it did!” said Ricciardo.
“We had some positive moments, but also a few difficult periods. I flat-spotted the Hard a bit, so that became tricky for the last few laps before the red flag, but not too bad beforehand.
“The last start, I felt like I got a good launch, and had a good run on the outside but there wasn’t really much room with a couple of cars on the inside. It just all bottlenecked into Turn Two and I felt a hit from behind.
“I couldn’t really do much, but we’ll keep working on our plan and keep moving forward.”
Drivers Pay Tribute to Mansour Ojjeh
McLaren announced during the weekend that long time shareholder Mansour Ojjeh, passed away aged sixty-eight. Both Norris and Ricciardo paid tribute to him post-race.
“I want to pass my condolences on to Mansour Ojjeh’s family. This result was for him today,” said Norris.
“I also just want to pay tribute to Mansour and send my condolences to Kathy and his entire family,” added Ricciardo. “He made a massive contribution to both McLaren and the entire sport, and he will be greatly missed.”