Birthday boy Lando Norris will be hoping to match his sprint result in the main race on Sunday at the Brazilian Grand Prix, after finishing seventh in the 24-lap race despite his car feeling “terrible”.
It’s not just the car that is presumably feeling terrible for Norris, after the 23-year-old suffered from suspected food poisoning just a day before the weekend got underway.
The team had Mercedes reserve driver Nyck de Vries in place to replace Norris as a contingency plan; however, the British driver has persevered this weekend.
He arguably got the best possible result from the sprint race, with McLaren appearing comfortably off the pace of the three leading sides.
Both Alpine’s colliding with each other did make Norris’ P7 extra worthwhile, with the Woking-based side now just five points behind the French side in the battle for fourth in the Constructors’ standings.
Norris was as usual ‘best of the rest’ in the sprint, with the McLaren star being the top midfield driver, a title he has become accustomed to throughout the season.
The Quadrant founder finished the sprint in seventh despite having started the 100km event in fourth, after the likes of Carlos Sainz, Lewis Hamilton, Sergio Pérez, and Charles Leclerc made their way past the helpless Briton.
Holding onto seventh in Sunday’s traditional race appears to be the main goal for Norris as the weekend hits its climax, with the driver believing there to be “no chance” of battling with the frontrunners.
Despite this and the car feeling as poor as it did, there is every chance that Norris can help McLaren leapfrog Alpine going into the season finale, especially given that the Enstone-based team are starting P17 and P18 after colliding with each other.
“No chance to compete with the other guys,” he told F1.com.
“They’re so much faster than us, even on Lap 1 so [it was] tough, but our main objective was to try and pass [Kevin] Magnussen and that’s what we did so I’m happy.
“The car felt terrible, but I feel like everyone thought that today, just low grip, hot track temperature. So difficult, but we got some points. Better than nothing so I’m happy.
“I don’t expect a lot more [on Sunday] than we have today. I think it was a good race.
“So remaining in the points and if we can get a double points finish, I know Daniel [Ricciardo] came through well, so if we can get into the points tomorrow, it could be a good day for us.”