“It had nothing to do with the performance of our car”: Lando Norris on why McLaren fell off in the latter half of the 2021 F1 season

Somin Bhattacharjee
|Published 15/01/2022

Lando Norris feels that McLaren’s slump in the second half of the 2021 season was a result of the tracks suiting Ferrari more.

McLaren started 2021 on an extremely strong note. Midway into the season, it looked as though they’d run away with P3 in the Constructors’, with Ferrari far behind them. They even got a one-two finish in Monza (the only team to get one in 2021), their first since 2010.

Lando Norris was consistently strong throughout the year with teammate Daniel Ricciardo facing the early struggles. The latter found it tough to adjust to his MCL35M, and it wasn’t until his win in Monza, did he truly announce his arrival at the team. However, following their successful outing in Lombardy, the Surrey based outfit fell off massively in terms of performance.

Norris himself had a good chance of winning the Russian GP in September after starting Sunday on pole. Unfortunately, a strategy goof-up on his part prevented that from happening, as he finished P7.

Ferrari soon began making major strides, with both Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc outperforming  both the McLaren drivers. After taking P3 from them in Mexico, the Italian team never looked back and ended the season ahead of their rivals.

Norris thinks that the Maranello based team finished ahead of them only because the latter tracks in the calendar suited them well.

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The latter tracks suited Ferrari very well, says Lando Norris

Norris went on to say that the first few races in 2021 took place in tracks that didn’t have too many corners. The high speed circuits seemed to suit the British team more which led to them picking up bigger points. That changed towards the end, which put their rivals in a much stronger position.

“I think that most of it has just been that there were only certain circuits where we were actually very strong,” said the 22-year old.

“Red Bull Ring was obviously one of them. Sochi was another one. I think if it was a completely dry weekend, and Mercedes were 1-2, we still would have been probably one second off of pole.”

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“So it looks much better, because conditions were tricky, and in qualifying, Mercedes did a terrible job but we did a good job. I did a good job, and then it made things also look a lot better,” he continued.

“And it wasn’t necessarily because the car was amazing. So I think there was just a couple of races early in the season, where every year we’re very strong. There’s less corners than any other circuit [at these tracks], as well.

“But then lately, the tracks genuinely haven’t suited us as well, and that’s just a coincidence, that there’s more in the beginning of the season than the end which suit us,” the McLaren star concluded.

About the author
Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee

Somin Bhattacharjee is an F1 writer at The SportsRush. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and aims to work in the sports industry for the rest of his life. Somin has been a fan of Scuderia Ferrari since 2010 and his favorite driver is none another than the great Fernando Alonso. Other than longing for a Ferrari Championship win once again, Somin spends his free time playing football and basketball.

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