Lando Norris responds to criticism about his McLaren contract extensions

Lando Norris has finished on the podium six times in his young career.

McLaren’s Lando Norris has revealed that he no longer lets his bad days get to him, and he feels like he is able to live a life away from Formula 1 without worrying about it.

Norris scored points 11 times in his debut season in 2020, five positions and 47 points behind team-mate Carlos Sainz, who secured their first podium in seven years at the Brazilian Grand Prix that campaign.

Norris had performed well in his first year alongside a proven talent in Sainz, but he spent much of the year worrying about whether he was doing a good enough job.

He conceded that he was “depressed a lot of the time” that year as he worried what would happen to his career if he underperformed.

READ: Lando Norris squashes Daniel Ricciardo ‘mind games’ accusation

This is a large part of the reason that McLaren partnered with the Mind charity that seeks to help those who are struggling with mental health issues.

Since his first year, Norris has achieved six podium finishes, one of them this year in Imola, and he took pole position at last season’s Russian Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old cruelly lost the win late on due to a strategy call in changing conditions, but he feels he is better equipped to deal with those moments mentally than he was at the start of his career.

“Now I feel a bit more comfortable,” Norris said in conversation with 

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“I feel like I’m performing very well, I’m delivering when I need to deliver, I’m comfortable on track.

“But I’m also able to live a good life, and can relax when I’m away from Formula 1, and not just think ‘what do I have to do for next time, because ‘I’ve done a sh*t job here’ or whatever, which is just a little bit more what I was like a few years ago.

“You’d just think, ‘why did I do badly there? Why am I not good enough in that position?’ and just constantly think about it, you don’t feel like you can relax.

“Whereas now I feel like I’ve got Formula 1, I’m doing everything I can and efficiently to do the best job I can in that. But then I can also live a life away from it.”

McLaren have not been having the 2022 they might have expected, and are fourth in the Constructors’ Standings, four points behind Alpine.

Norris and team-mate Daniel Ricciardo have been dealing with an erratic MCL36 this year, but the car has gradually been increasing its performance since the nightmare race in Bahrain at the start of the season.

There are some improvements in the pipeline both on the car and at the McLaren Technology Centre (MTC) that should help the British side move up the order.

“It’s not that everything isn’t [good] now, but a new wind tunnel and certain other projects we have with the team which are coming along, and which will hopefully give us better performance by ’24 and ’25, I also look forward to those times,” added Norris.

“We might not just go out and win, but I want to convince myself that it’ll definitely help us move in that direction.

“There are so many good things that we’re doing as a team that I see us doing better than some of the top teams at times. 

“It’s just sometimes you don’t have the car that can show that, if that makes sense.”

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There were concerns at the start of the season that Norris had made a mistake by signing a deal that keeps him at McLaren until the end of 2025, but he disagrees with the notion that the contract length was excessive.

“I’m happy, I also feel like I made a good decision being here for so long,” he affirmed.

“I’m enjoying it, which is for me the most important thing.

“Every year, I’m still excited to see what the future holds because I’m almost more and more optimistic of where we can end up in a few years.”

Norris has ended in the points 11 times this season, and is currently seventh in the Drivers’ Standings.