Lando Norris says it was good to see his McLaren F1 Team back towards the sharp end of the grid at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, particularly after the tough Dutch Grand Prix last weekend.
McLaren struggled for performance at the Circuit Zandvoort, with Norris scoring the team’s only point for tenth place but Qualifying on Friday at Monza saw a much improved pace from the MCL35M, which allowed him to be a contender for the top three all through the session.
Ultimately, Norris was forced to settle for fourth after Max Verstappen edged ahead of him on his final run, but his place on the grid gives him a chance of fighting for points across the remainder of the weekend.
“I’m satisfied with today – we’re back in a much better position after last weekend, and we seem much more competitive,” said Norris. “I think it’s the perfect start to the weekend.
“There was a possibility of being P3 if I’d put the lap completely together – but one small mistake, I think, cost us. It’s a bit of a shame that I missed out on it, but fourth still puts us in a very good position compared to the people we’re really racing against and battling with this weekend and for the Championship.
“I’m happy – and it’s a good way to bounce back after last week.”
“We were fast and were fighting for top three on the grid” – Daniel Ricciardo
Team-mate Daniel Ricciardo was happy to finish fifth, but like Norris, he was frustrated to get as close to third place as they did.
The Australian has started the Italian Grand Prix weekend on a positive note and has put himself in contention at the front of the field, but the fact he finished behind Norris by just 0.006 seconds and behind Verstappen by 0.029 seconds left him with a sense of frustration.
“From a general standpoint, I’m happy,” said Ricciardo. “We were fast and were fighting for top three on the grid, so I’m happy we had the potential to do that. But I’m so frustrated that we got that close but not quite close enough. It was more of a tease than anything, but it’s all good.
“I think the team performance was great. We didn’t put ourselves in a difficult situation with any of the out-laps and I was in the right places in terms of track position, we had good tows.
“My only frustration is that it’s so close and, unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the milliseconds. It is what it is and I’m now looking forward to the racing.”