Lando Norris admitted it “hurt” watching Oscar Piastri beat him to secure his first F1 victory at the Qatar Grand Prix after McLaren’s rookie won the sprint race.
After taking pole position in the shootout, Piastri bounced back from losing the lead at the start to regain the lead from George Russell, overcoming a late threat to win the sprint race from newly crowned three-time world champion Max Verstappen.
Despite probably being the faster of the McLaren drivers at Lusail, Norris was noticeably error-prone this weekend and was visibly upset after being demoted to 10th after Friday qualifying for exceeding track limits.
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Norris missed out on pole position in the sprint when he ran wide in the final corner of his final lap in SQ3, dropping from second to sixth at the start of the 19-lap race.
The British driver has been winless for almost five full seasons since he appeared on the grid in 2019, and Piastri’s early success did not put him off at the end of the sprint.
He said: “First of all, congratulations to Oscar and Max. His first victory – earlier than mine – is a great applause for him.
“Tough race for me. A bad start made everything much more difficult, but we fought well – some nice races, good overtaking until the last lap on George.
“Very hard, but another podium for us and our team was a great day.”
Asked whether his first victory was on the horizon, he replied: “I hope so. I tried for a long time, but Oscar did a great job. He was in pole position this weekend.
“I made a lot of mistakes and he didn’t, and he took advantage of that and did a better job, so hats off to him.”
Norris detailed his emotions in an interview with Sky F1, commenting: “They’ve been taking over everything for the last two days. I think about negative things much more often than positive ones. It’s just me, it’s not like that [it’s] problem. That’s just what I think, that’s how my head works.
“I’m very happy for the team, I’m happy for the Oscar. He beat me in victory, so I congratulate him.
“Of course, it’s never the nicest feeling. It hurts me. It just hurts that I screwed up this morning. I should have been on pole position and yesterday I should have been at least P1 or P2 before tomorrow’s race.
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“So I think that counts. This is the weekend when it counts and I made too many mistakes. It just annoys me on such a high level.
“I’m trying to reset and refocus without thinking about it, but I can’t not think about it. Just frustrating because it just should, would, could.
“Oscar did a better job than me this weekend and deserves the position he got today. I’m starting where I deserve to be because I just did a bad job.
“It’s frustrating, especially when the car is so good and the team has done such a good job of improving so many things and giving us a chance to fight for pole position and fight for wins, and then when I don’t perform in my role it’s frustrating.
“I let myself down, it’s so hard. However, today’s double podium makes it a little better and that’s why I’m very happy for the team.
Norris has never finished higher than second in F1, a finish he achieved five times in total, including four of the final seven races in 2023.
His best chance at victory probably came at the 2021 Russian GP, where he led from pole position until he and McLaren misjudged conditions when rain fell in the closing stages of the Sochi race and he eventually finished seventh.
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