Last weekend at the Italian Grand Prix, McLaren signed a historic performance by returning to victory for the first time since 2012, also achieving its first double since 2010 with Daniel Ricciardo before Lando Norris.
This performance was facilitated by the collision of the two title contenders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton at the halfway point, but it should not be obscured the fact that at the precise moment of this incident, the McLarens were already virtually occupying the first two. places in the race – in particular thanks to missed pit stops at Mercedes and especially at Red Bull.
Subsequently, if the McLarens did not widen the gap, no one posed a real threat to them, not even Sergio Pérez or Valtteri Bottas. In contrast, Norris probably could have attacked Ricciardo for the win; he initially told his team that his teammate needed to step up, before asking if it was better to stay second. McLaren obviously agreed to secure the double.
“There was one lap where I got a little closer and, I don’t know why, I had a flashback to the incident between Max and Lewis, because I saw it relatively well in my mirrors”, reveals Norris. “So when I said to myself that maybe I was going to give it a try, I had this flash and I said to myself that it might not be the wisest decision!”
Lando Norris ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen seconds before the crash
“Certainly I would have loved to play the win, but I’m just as happy that we finished first and second. I hope to be at McLaren for many years to come, so I think I will have another opportunity to play that at the future. TO then, in this case, I was fine to stay where I was. “
McLaren’s double was undoubtedly a surprise, but unlike Esteban Ocon in Hungary or Pierre Gasly at the previous Italian Grand Prix, the papaya cars showed an excellent pace throughout the weekend. Both were in the top 5 in qualifying, one breath away from Verstappen’s Red Bull.
“I think a lot of times we’ve seen others win with a bit of luck here and there, but I think we just did a really good job all weekend.”adds Norris, who has been with McLaren for five years. “We were in the right place at the right times, we did a good job on the strategies. We put ourselves in a better position. [en Qualifs Sprint], having passed Lewis for me, and Daniel having passed two cars – he got into that position. “
“We had a fast car and made the best of everything we had, so I don’t think there was any luck at all with what we did this weekend. We bounced back well after Zandvoort , one of our worst races of the season, and we did a perfect job this weekend. There was no luck, which really makes the taste a little better because it’s just deserved. “