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Lando Norris’ Exceptional 2021 Formula One Performances So Far

Lando Norris’ Exceptional 2021 Formula One Performances So Far

After a strong year last year in 2020 with McLaren, claiming third in the constructors, his maiden podium at the first race last year and strong pace throughout, he was hoping to continue his form, repeat his constructor’s success and “be that kind of guy who can lead the team”.

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And he bagged a quiet P4 in the opening Bahrain GP and outperformed his experienced teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, as was expected because it was Ricciardo’s first race in that McLaren.

But Imola, the second race of the season, turned out to be a rollercoaster of emotions for Lando. A qualifying time that would have put him in contention for pole was deleted for exceeding track limits, and he started the race seventh. Norris had run in second place, before being passed by the recovering Lewis Hamilton with three laps remaining. He finished third to claim his second Formula One podium finish purely on merit.

and after a strong P5 finish for Lando in Portimao, people were beginning to pick up on the fact that his form was not a fluke, but pure consistency with his 100% 2021 points record being brought up often.

In the next race at Barcelona, fortunes switched around quite dramatically for the McLaren drivers. While Daniel Ricciardo finally found his form during the race, it was pretty average for Lando Norris, whose poor qualifying performance ended up restricting him to 8th in the race at a hard to overtake Catalunya circuit, although Lando kept his points streak. Team principal Andreas Seidl stated that Lando will get himself back on his feet for the weekend in Monaco.

and Lando did not only do just that but more. Norris came into the Monaco Grand Prix expecting the most difficult weekend so far in 2021 but left with a podium.

He slowly built his way into the Monaco GP and come qualifying was showing real promise in the McLaren, securing P5 on the grid, less than three tenths off Charles Leclerc’s pole time, in a Q3 session which was cut short due to a crash from Charles himself. And race day was an even greater showing from the Briton who crossed the line P3, earning a spot on the podium for the second time this season, after Bottas retired in the pits and Leclerc failed to start the race he claimed pole position in.

In Azerbaijan, having endured a solid weekend within the top ten before a three-place grid penalty relegated him to ninth, Norris felt that finishing fifth was the maximum possible, saying: “Happy with the end result today, fifth was the best we could do.” He though felt that he was unable to overtake in the middle stages of the race before benefitting from crashes for Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen on top of Lewis Hamilton’s lock-up on the standing restart which gifted him with two positions.

McLaren went into the race at the Circuit Paul Ricard on the backfoot following a disappointing qualifying with Norris qualifying eighth, while teammate Daniel Ricciardo could only manage tenth. Impressive race pace combined with a long first stint allowed Norris to get past both Ferraris, Pierre Gasly and Ricciardo into fifth. Remarkably, it was the sixth time in seven races Norris has finished in the top five as he maintained fourth in the drivers’ championship ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas.

In the two consecutive Austrian races, Lando performed well starting third due to a penalty for Valtteri Bottas and finished a strong fifth. In the second Austrian Grand Prix, he really shone. He bettered his personal best qualifying position at the Austrian Grand Prix, starting in second place after setting a time 0.048 seconds behind pole-sitter Max Verstappen. Norris received a penalty during the race after being judged to have forced Sergio Pérez off the track. He finished the race third to claim his third podium of the season.

Lando Norris has admitted he is ‘feeling a bit sore’ ahead of the British Grand Prix following his terrifying mugging at Wembley. His watch was stolen as he walked to his car following the Euro 2020 final. He was described as ‘shaken’ by his team following the incident, and Norris has admitted he’s ‘not been sleeping that great’ ahead of his home Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday. ‘I’m fine… but I’ve been better, I can say that,’ Norris told Sky Sports News. ‘I’m not in perfect condition, I’m not going to lie. despite this, he qualified 6th, finished 5th in the inaugural sprint race of the season and finished 4th in the race bringing home a strong result for his home fans.

His season-long points streak was brought to a close at the Hungarian Grand Prix where he once again qualified a strong P6 and jumped Valtteri Bottas immediately at the start before being rear-ended by Bottas seconds after into turn one. He got away with it at first but then once a red flag was called the McLaren mechanics found excessive floor damage that meant Norris couldn’t continue.

Therefore with this strong performance, Lando sits P3 in the driver’s standings being heralded as the strongest driver of the season so far. He seems to be assuming the role of team leader that he was eyeing up pre-season and is definitely proving his critics wrong.

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