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Norris reveals ‘tough’ Singapore race almost ended in disaster

Briton charged to P2 in Singapore, equalling his best finish in F1

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Lando Norris has confirmed a split-second moment in the latter stages of the Singapore Grand Prix almost resulted in retirement. 

Lando Norris on his way to a P2 finish at the Singapore Grand Prix (Image Credit: @McLarenF1 on X)
Lando Norris on his way to a P2 finish at the Singapore Grand Prix (Image Credit: @McLarenF1 on X)

McLaren bought further upgrades to its MCL60 in Singapore, fitted to Norris’s car only. The impact of these upgrades was immediate, with Norris in the top half of the timesheets in all free practice sessions.

This form continued in qualifying, with Norris lining P4 on the grid for the race ahead of the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton. With only the second Mercedes of Russell and the two Ferraris ahead of him, the Briton was pushing for a strong result.

Losing a position to Hamilton at the start of the race, he pushed hard after Russell relinquished the position due to overtaking while running wide. A Safety Car deployed after the Williams of Logan Sargeant hit the barriers allowed Norris to jump ahead of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Now running in third, Norris kept pace with George Russell and leader Carlos Sainz.

Scare in the closing stages

As the race entered the closing stages, Esteban Ocon’s retirement and subsequent Virtual Safety Car allowed Mercedes to pull its strategic masterstroke. Both drivers pitted for new medium tyres, while its rivals were stuck on used hards. The stops elevated Norris to P2.

Once the Mercedes cars had passed, Leclerc, Russell and Hamilton closed on Norris. Defending hard, the McLaren was able to keep the Mercedes behind. Russell’s dramatic last-lap crash secured P2, with Hamilton unable to pass the McLaren, coming home third.

Speaking to after the race, Norris said the race was “tough” and feared for his podium chances once Mercedes fitted for new tyres.  “It was [a hard race] but Carlos was very generous trying to help me get DRS, help my race that helped his. It was tough, we knew it was going to be tough as soon as the Mercedes boxed.

“Especially with only a couple of cars for them to overtake, but got the podium, P2, we held them off. We did everything we needed to do and more, so super happy.”
Norris then revealed that just before Russell’s crash, he, too, had clipped the wall, almost ending his race. Cheekily saying Russell “copied him”, he admitted Russell was quicker:

“I hit the wall the same lap, the last lap, the same place. I did the same, so I think he copied me and just did it even worse! No, I feel for him, he fought a tough race. He was probably one of the quickest out there… he was the quickest today.

Russell’s crash gave Norris breathing room, allowing him to secure a third podium of the season. He praised teammate Oscar Piastri and said he enjoyed racing in a tightly packed grid:  “So, it helped me a bit the last couple of corners, I could chill just a little bit more. But good points for the whole team with Oscar [Piastri] there”.

“But everyone, Carlos, Charles, Lewis, and George, we all pushed each other the whole way. It was stressful but it paid off.”

P2 for Norris and Piastri’s P7 sees McLaren pull 57 points clear of Alpine in the Constructors Championship, cementing P5 in the standings. Pierre Gasly’s scored 8 points for Alpine following Ocon’s retirement.


Feature Image Credit: @McLarenF1 on X

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