Photo credit: McLaren Racing
Despite starting and finishing fifth at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix—finishing the season with seven top-five finishes in his last eight races—McLaren’s Lando Norris was disappointed with the outcome of his season finale.
“I just expected a little bit more in terms of pace today, but we didn’t have it, so a little bit of a shame. I was hoping just for that little bit more pace to be able to attack the guys ahead. It wasn’t like they were much quicker, but just a tenth a lap, two tenths a lap, and that was enough for them just to stay ahead.”
About three seconds were lost on a slow first pitstop on lap 15. Norris, who had moved up to fourth on the start and was running third going into the pits, came out behind the simultaneously-pitting Mercedes of George Russell, who Norris was unable to catch afterwards.
Norris then had a position taken after contact with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez on lap 47. While Perez was assessed a five-second penalty for forcing the McLaren off the road, it was ultimately not enough to push the Red Bull behind Norris by the end of the race.
The resigned McLaren driver said “I don’t think we could have done a lot more today. I mean, we lost out a bit in the pit stop, so could have been ahead of George, possibly, but that wouldn’t have really changed too much. So we did what we needed to do as a team, and that was the most important thing.”
And while Russell and Perez were positions that, had he kept them, would have placed Norris fourth in points on the season—instead of one point back of Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc—McLaren solidified a finish of fourth in the constructors’ race, twelve ahead of Aston Martin.