Lando Norris praised McLaren’s strategy in the French Grand Prix after recovering from a disappointing qualifying to lead home team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the team’s best two-car result of the season.
Norris qualified eighth on Saturday with Ricciardo 10th but a long first stint gave the British driver a tyre advantage over his rivals that enabled him to climb back through the field after a poor start.
Norris, who finished fifth with Ricciardo sixth, said: “I had a good launch off the line but then my up-shifts were really bad. I had a really bad shift into second or third gear and then I lost everything. I dropped three or four positions.
“But then I did a long first stint, it was quite tricky, the tyres became very difficult at the end but then I created a big delta on the tyres and I could quite easily come back through.
“It was a good fun race for me. We did the only thing we could do. We did something different and it worked. Good points for us as a team, I think our best team result so far this year, so we’re making some progress.
“Yesterday [in qualifying] we under-delivered a little bit, we gave everything we could but something was missing. Today it just came back to us a little bit and it was a bit more normal.
“To get both the Ferraris, which for us as a team is most important, but just to finish behind the Red Bull and Mercedes - when I say behind I mean 40 seconds behind - there are plenty of positives.”
Gasly overtake was ‘tricky’
Norris almost collided with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly as he climbed back through the field on fresh tyres and labelled the French driver “an idiot” on the radio immediately after the incident.
On reflection he said: “It’s tricky. I don’t want to comment on it too much. We’re racing and things happen. The fact that he also ended up completely off the track is the bad part about it. He forced me off but even he went off himself.
“Maybe he was a bit over-aggressive and he needs to do a better job next time but a lot of what he did was fine, it was just that final bit where he tried a bit too hard.
"It’s racing, and as long as he doesn’t do it again, I’m happy."
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