Norris: lap one clash with Sainz “benefited them a lot more than us”

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Lando Norris said that a collision with Carlos Sainz at the start of the Sao Paulo Grand Prix had advantaged Ferrari in their points battle.

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Norris got a good start from fifth and was able to run to the outside and past third place Sainz. However, the two collided before Norris had fully passed Sainz, into turn one, leaving Norris with a left rear puncture that he had to nurse back to the pits, starting lap two dead last and more than 37 seconds down from 19th-placed Kimi Raikkonen.

Norris said that there was “not really” anything more he could have done to avoid the Ferrari. “I mean, I had to start turning left for the corner and the guy on the inside also knows that, so you have to respect each other, right?

“And if I’m a bit on the right side, I’m going to be coming back on at some point and obviously it benefited them a lot more than us, in the long term,” he continued. “I don’t know what else I’m meant to do.”

“I’ve gone to the right, there was a gap, I had a much better start – miles better start – and I can’t just keep looking in my mirrors the whole time, and I can’t see it from above where I am, so I put my car in the best place I thought I could,” Norris explained. “I don’t want to crash so I thought I would need space, but it wasn’t enough.”

The incident was ruled as not requiring an investigation by the stewards. Norris drove back to finish the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in tenth, but with team mate Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement, McLaren’s result gave Ferrari a substantial points advantage in the two teams’ battle for third in the constructors’ championship.

“It’s frustrating, because I scored one point and could have scored quite a few more today,” Norris said. “Probably Ferrari was still quicker than us today but I would have been ahead of them at the start and they would have had to fight for it quite a bit, I reckon.”

Despite Ferrari’s overall advantage at Interlagos, Norris said McLaren “still had good pace” throughout the weekend. “We could have given a good battle throughout the whole stint, so yeah, it could have been a lot more today, but it wasn’t. So I guess that’s why I’m unhappy.”

Norris said that his second single-digit score in two races was not “helping out that much” given Ferrari’s fifth and sixth place finish. “Yeah, it’s better than nothing, so it might count in the end of the season, it might not. But we did our best.”

McLaren could expect better results at the final three races, Norris said. “I think there’s a few more tracks coming up, which I’m hoping will suit our car quite a bit more than here and the previous few races. But Ferrari are strong and, don’t get me wrong, they probably have a stronger package altogether at the moment.

“So we’ll keep pushing. We could have beaten them today, I think even when we didn’t have a car quite as quick, I’m sure there’s definitely more opportunities. It’s going to be difficult unless they make any big mistakes but we’ll try.”

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2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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19 comments on “Norris: lap one clash with Sainz “benefited them a lot more than us””

  1. I think it was entirely his fault. He overtook Carlos on the outside of the white line and came back very quickly. Carlos did try to make that gap smaller but has already backed off on that and was heading straight, and Lando got back on track.

    McLaren must be thinking that maybe winning at Monza was a bad omen. They’ve been struggling a lot after that near miss at Russia, and they looked like locking 3rd with races to spare back then.

    1. someone or something
      14th November 2021, 21:39

      Yeah, 100% on him. I’m assuming he gave that opinion fresh out of the cockpit, before watching the footage. Because if he did, he’d see what a mess that was.

    2. I think it was 100% sainz’s fault. He had nobody to his right yet he said on the radio that he got squeezed and had nowhere to go.
      In the end it was a racing incident.

      1. What about you see the video…? Norris moved on Sainz that was trying to avoid Norris.

      2. 100% on Norris as he went on the grass to overtake then you know there was no room what so ever.

  2. A racing incident, but I’d put more blame on him, given where he came from behind.

  3. I’m not sure what he’s talking about, since he was the one who drove into Sainz.

  4. Sainz close the door too late and cut off Norris’ rear tyre: Sainz should have been penalized. Lando didn’t leave the track ( = four wheels outside the racing track) to make his move, so it was legal. I don’t understand why it went unpunished. Is it allowed now to cut your opponents tires?

    1. What you talking about, Norris cut into Sainz.

    2. Carlos didn’t close the door on him. After Lando outdragged him off the line, he steared a bit to the left (probably expecting Carlos moving more towards the inside). Carlos was holding his line, while Lando moved a little towards the Ferrari (though not much) and that’s when they made contact.
      Considering nobody was predominantly to blame, a penalty wasn’t necessary.

      1. Sainz moved to inside trying to avoid a crash, youtube top video rHithG6q3bs is quite clear on this.

        1. Agreed. Since when is a driver who starts on the right hand side of the track Required to steer left into other cars?

          Lando’s fault, 100%.

          Ferrari garage will be happy with Carlos. McLaren should be disappointed with Lando

    3. @x303 pretty clear that sainz moved to the right in order to block norris, he went too late and almost smashed norris into the wall, by the point sainz noticed it it was too late, sainz moved back to the left but Norris was trying to make the corner and they made contact.

      1. Wrong. They were nowhere near the corner.

  5. It was pretty much a racing incident for me. Lando could have left more space and didn’t need to cross Carlos’ line so sharply.
    They didn’t have the pace anyway. The Ferrari was around 0.4 on average quicker today (based on Ricciardo’s lap times in the first two stints) and even more in the final stint on the hards.
    P7 probably would’ve been the maximum for Lando.

  6. “lap one clash with Sainz benefited them a lot more than us”
    Hello captain obvious.
    But seriously, it was a racing incident. He took quite a risk on going on the green stuff. Sainz didn’t change line to cut him off, he just didn’t let him rejoin the track by making way. I think that’s acceptable.

    1. You could say ‘maybe then you had to be more cautions to avoid it Lando’ @roadrunner, but in the end, all the more reason to call it a racing incident if he could have done the most to avoid it I think.

      1. Sainz moved inside to avoid the crash. Video from top camera shows this.

  7. Sainz held his line, it was Norris that (understandably, given he was half off the track and that’s where the track is starting to go into T1) drifted over a little left and clipped Sainzs wing with his left rear. It happens. It’s a pretty typical lap 1 racing incident that happens in the pack from time to time.

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