‘Just more unlucky times!’ Norris reflects on disappointing Abu Dhabi GP

Lando Norris suffered a slow puncture that caused him to tumble down the order in Abu Dhabi.

Lando Norris in 2021 Abu Dhabi GP.v1

McLaren driver Lando Norris was having an excellent race weekend in Abu Dhabi before suffering a slow puncture with just 10 laps of the grand prix to go.

The young British driver started the race in P3, just behind the two championship protagonists, but found himself losing a bunch of places after the team detected a slow puncture in one of his tyres. 

Norris pitted for new tyres on Lap 51 and subsequently was out of the fight for fifth in the Driver’s Championship.

He was able to recover to seventh place in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which earned him P6 in the championship, splitting the Ferrari drivers. 

Reflecting on his performance in the UAE capital, Norris said: “I thought from my side it was a decent race.

“I lost out a little bit at the start – I maybe just didn’t do the best job or place the car exactly where I should’ve done.

“After that, the race was going very well, I was keeping up with the Ferrari, the pace was pretty strong and then we had a slow puncture, which just took us out of the race and I lost a lot of points and a lot of positions because of that. Just more unlucky times! But the team did a good job today.

“I feel like I drove a solid race and it was just unfortunate again. There’s nothing we could’ve done, but I think we should still be happy with the way we ended the season.

“We weren’t quite quick enough at times, but that’s not down to a lack of effort,” he added.

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Norris’ team-mate, Daniel Ricciardo, wasn’t able to extract the same pace from the McLaren, finishing P12 in the race. 

Other than his win in Monza, Ricciardo won’t have too many results to look back at with pride in his maiden season with McLaren.

The Australian driver acknowledged his lack of qualifying pace as a contributing factor to his poor 2021 campaign, and he hopes to improve his qualifying next season. 

“We made a position on the first lap, which put us in the fight with the Alpines,” Ricciardo said.

“I felt like I had a bit more pace than them, but it was honestly just really tricky to overtake. We tried to stick it out but with the Virtual Safety Car we lost positions. I think in clear air I would’ve had a bit more pace to show, but it was just tricky with track position.

“That’s what happens when you qualify a little too far back. Something I want to improve next year is the performance on Saturdays, and I think that’ll make the Sundays a bit easier,” he added.

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