Lando Norris‘ fine form in the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship continues with another podium at the Austrian Grand Prix.
The young Brits weekend was already off to a strong start when he qualified on the front row of the grid for the first time in his career. His best qualifying lap saw him start in second, with a time just 0.048 seconds off of pole-sitter Max Verstappen.
On race day, Norris found himself battling hard for his position. Sergio Pérez tried to overtake Norris on Lap four but was forced to go wide and into the gravel. Norris was penalised and given a five-second time penalty for his part in the incident. Lewis Hamilton was on his tail and come Lap twenty, Norris couldn’t defend any more and was subsequently overtaken.
Norris pitted on Lap thirty-one and served his five-second time penalty. That gave Valtteri Bottas ample room to pit and get the undercut, leaving Norris now just outside of the podium places.
Despite this, Norris was still on the hunt for a podium. Bottas was able to overtake Hamilton to take second and Norris also had the pace to get round the World Champion. He had the pace to stay close to Bottas but was never able to pull the trigger for second and eventually crossed the line in third, his second podium in Austria.
Norris said: “I’m extremely happy with today’s result. Another podium and a lot of points for us as a team. A very good day. The only thing that’s disappointing is the fact we could’ve been P2, but at the same time that’s also a big positive.
“Our pace today was extremely strong, especially in the second stint against very fast cars and against Mercedes. A lot of positives and altogether a very good day – a huge thank you to the whole team for their hard work and giving me such a great car. We’ll keep pushing to take this momentum into our home race at Silverstone in a couple of weeks.”
“I just had a pretty fun race” – Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo had a big task ahead of him come race day. For the fourth time this year, Ricciardo was knocked out in Q2 and was sitting outside the top ten in thirteenth on the starting grid.
However, come race day, he was able to cut through the grid and into the points. After the first lap, Ricciardo had already gained two places and was looking to be on target for a fine race. His main battle in the race was from Pérez, who had tumbled down the grid due to his incident with Norris. Ricciardo was running in fifth and managed to keep Perez at bay for a lengthy spell, especially as Pérez was under threat from Charles Leclerc.
Pérez was able to get by and so was Carlos Sainz Jr, who had pitted much later and had fresher tyres, and Ricciardo crossed the line in seventh, a six-place climb from his starting position.
“It was a nice day for the team with a podium for Lando and getting into the points for me. That was good. I just had a pretty fun race. It was busy, trying to attack and defend. It’s one I could enjoy and take some fulfilment from.” said Ricciardo.
“The defence was tough. I was trying everything I could, every trick in the book to stay ahead. I think I held on as long as I could and Sainz was just a bit quick at the end with a fresher tyre – but I can’t complain with the race and the result. A better day. Happy to have finished the first triple-header of the season. As fun as the triple-headers are, they’re tiring. Everyone can enjoy a break now. We’ll look forward to Silverstone and the new format there. It should be interesting!”