Alex Albon rubs salt into Lando Norris wound

Lando Norris has enjoyed a strong season thus far with McLaren, but there have been some challenges.

Alexander Albon revealed that he sensed Lando Norris’s frustration during their hard-fought battle at the Italian Grand Prix, where Albon successfully fended off Norris’s relentless attempts to overtake him.

In yesterday’s race, Norris ultimately secured eighth place, but for most of the event, he found himself in close pursuit of Albon, who managed to maintain his position until the checkered flag.

Throughout the race, Norris made numerous efforts to pass Albon, but he struggled to match his rival’s straight-line speed, which proved to be a significant advantage for the Williams driver. 

Albon acknowledged that Williams had certain weaknesses on the track, notably in the final corner known as Alboreto (formerly Parabolica).

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Albon explained, “We were really weak in the last corner. 

We were actually good through Ascari but slow in turn 11, and they would always catch me out through there. 

“The degradation was huge. The laps to the grid, we thought, ‘This is going to be a really tough race.’ 

“We didn’t have the pace today, but we had the straight-line speed, and that was what kept Lando behind.”

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He also empathised with Norris, recognising the frustration of being unable to complete an overtake. 

Albon added, “He must be very frustrated, I would be. 

“We were just about good enough in turn one on the brakes that even though they have more downforce than us, it’s not a clean overtake for them. 

“You could see every time they tried to out-brake me they tended to go wide.”

Notably, many of Norris’s attempts to pass Albon occurred at Rettifilo, and on lap 38, the two drivers nearly collided at the chicane. 

Norris pulled alongside and initially felt he was “forced off” onto the escape road. 

However, Norris had no complaints about Albon’s performance, recognizing the need to be competitive and assertive in such battles.

Credit to Alexander Albon’s performance, Norris acknowledged, “He did drive a very good race, he didn’t make any mistakes, which is annoying. 

“I tried, we had good battles, but they were too quick for us in the straights, and even with DRS, I [only] catch maybe two or three kilometers an hour more than what he’s doing.”

While Williams typically expects to be more competitive on fast circuits with few low-speed corners, high track temperatures reaching 45°C played a role in their inability to pull clear of Norris. 

Albon reflected on their ongoing weaknesses, particularly related to low downforce, stating, “We are better than we were last year, but especially when the track gets hot and the degradation is high, we really struggle. 

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“This was a race where we struggled on a track that should suit us. 

“I think if the track was 20 degrees cooler, we would have been really fast.”

With Albon’s impressive performance at Monza, Williams has solidified their position in seventh place in the constructors’ championship, earning another six valuable points for the team.