Norris hits the simulator


Following his costly wrong call on Sunday, Lando Norris has spent two days in the McLaren simulator in a bid to prevent any repeats.

Despite a superb drive which saw him refuse to buckle under intense pressure from Lewis Hamilton, it was the youngster's wrong call on tyre strategy once conditions deteriorated that cost him his first ever GP win and his team its second of the season.

As rain began to fall and most took to the pits to change to Inters, Norris insisted that he could continue on (hard) slicks.

Calls from his team to consider pitting for the green-banded rubber were met with shouts of "shut up!" and "no!", and even when advised that Lewis Hamilton had finally chosen to pit the youngster continued, insisting that he had it under control.

However, as conditions worsened he finally admitted, having slid off the track almost into the barriers, "I can't do this", but by then it was too late.

Rejoining the race in eighth he was able to overhaul Kimi Raikkonen to cross the line in seventh.

In a bid to avoid any repeats of the situation, McLaren has had the youngster in the simulator this week.

"I've learned of course many things," he told Autosport, "things for myself, what I could do better next time, if we're in exactly the same situation again, and how can I make better decisions.

"But also with the team," he continued, "it’s how can we communicate better, how can we talk, so that the team gives me more information as well, in order to make decisions.

"The thing is, it is so complicated," he admitted. "When you just watch TV it looks so simple, and it looks like the easiest decision in the world. You feel like sometimes you can just make an easy decision. But it's really not that simple.

"There are so many things which have to take place for you to make a good decision and the correct decision."

Reeling for what looked set to be its second successive win, McLaren is working all-out in order to learn from Sunday's experience.

"We reviewed everything," said Norris, "the whole race, from lap one to the very end. But of course, more importantly, the last ten laps.

"What can I do better to help the team and what can the team do better to help me? We spent two days on the simulator, and one day reviewing everything with the communication, and how we talk to each other to try and do a better job next time.

"I'm not going to say what I've learned, necessarily, but I've learned a lot, and the team has learned a lot. It's not a guarantee, but hopefully we'll do a better job next time."

Despite Sunday's missed opportunity, McLaren has much of which it can be proud, and Norris is confident that there will be further opportunities to shine this season.

"I hope everywhere," he responded when asked where he most fancies his chances. "I think places like America will be good for us.

"Abu Dhabi was good for us last year, but this year, maybe not so good, because they're changing the track layout. So for us, it's maybe not so good.

"In Mexico, I think we can also be quite strong, but it's so difficult to know," he admitted. "I guess in Russia, we maybe didn't expect to be as good as we were and maybe in Zandvoort, we didn't expect to be as bad as we were.

"So even now, so late in the season, we're still learning about the car, we're still learning what makes it fast and what makes it slow. And what we can learn from that for 2022, for next season, on how can we make sure we're just not slow and always fast."

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Published: 30/09/2021
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