BRITISH TEENAGER NORRIS READY FOR INTENSE BATTLE ON “HOME” SOIL
Eighteen-year-old Norris, who will have the 29-lap (106-mile) Feature Race on Saturday followed by Sunday’s 21-lap (76-mile) Sprint Race, posted second and 11thplacings at the Red Bull Ring in Austria this weekend with both races, as they will at Silverstone, starting from behind the Safety Car.
Norris began yesterday’s 40-lap Feature race around the 2.6-mile Red Bull Ring, featuring three DRS zones, in second place – his third “front row” start of the season – with a reduced series lead of nine-points after George Russell secured pole-position. Norris pitted from second place under Safety Car conditions with six-laps completed, re-joining fifth, the race going “green” two-laps later – three cars ahead not having pitted. He was demoted to sixth following another Safety Car period shortly after mid-distance, losing another place on lap 26 conserving his tyres. With eight laps remaining, Lando was up to fifth and lay third when the remaining cars pitted with four-laps remaining, Norris taking second-place on lap 38 – to retain the championship lead by two-points – his fifth podium of the season – and having set the second fastest lap.
Starting seventh in today’s 28-lap Sprint Race, Norris lost out to Russell, who started one place further back, going into the first turn. He moved briefly up to sixth with 18-laps completed but dropped places in the closing stages due to excessive tyre wear to an eventual 11that the chequered flag – only the second time in the 10 races staged to date Lando has failed to score a championship point.
The McLaren Test & Reserve driver first visited Silverstone in July 2010 and raced there for the first time in 2014 (Ginetta Junior Championship) when aged just 14-years-old. He raced again on the “National” circuit the following year (MSA Formula Championship) and in 2016 (Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup) recorded his first Silverstone win, from pole-position also setting the fastest race lap on his 3.66-mile Grand Prix track début. Most recently, Lando posted a win (again from pole and with fastest lap) plus a third placing in his FIA F3 European Championship winning season last year.
Lando Norris (GB): Born: Bristol, England. Aged 18.“Mixed emotions this weekend. It was good to be on the Feature race podium while today’s race was a disaster, and that was my fault, costing me the championship lead which I’d led since winning the opening Bahrain race. We found some things in the data from practice on Friday and made changes to the car for qualifying later that afternoon. My first runs were pretty good for P3 but I made some mistakes then managed to jump ahead of my team-mate Sergio and on to the front row after pitting for new super-softs. I can’t remember ever starting a race from behind the Safety Car but it worked out. The tyre wear on the super-softs was extremely high, from the second lap the tyres were going away, and I’d already made the decision to pit as soon as the “window” opened on lap six. As it turned out, the Safety Car appeared at that point and so most cars pitted. I dropped a couple of places as I tried to ‘manage’ my tyres to the end but moved up to second again in the closing laps. Today’s Sprint race was really tough. I must have over-cooked the tyres and it was then just a spiralling affect in terms of no grip regards traction, braking, everything. It was my mistake – I didn’t do a good enough job tyre saving. “I’m obviously looking forward to racing at Silverstone – especially now. It was one of the first tracks that I tested a car [Formula Renault] coming from karting while for the past three years, I only get one opportunity to race in the UK and it’s always been at Silverstone which is my favourite UK track. Generally I’ve gone pretty well there and my aim is to continue that in F2. Maggotts and Becketts is a tricky section but when you do nail it, it’s very satisfying. Overall it’s a fun track to drive with a lot of different types of corners. Generally you can overtake especially when you’re close enough to use the DRS. Racing in front of a ’home’ crowd will make me want to do well but it won’t put any more pressure on me than racing anywhere else. ”