Lando Norris has admitted that he worries that the 2021 Russian Grand Prix is the only chance of winning a Formula 1 race he’ll ever get.
Norris has been immensely impressive since joining the Formula 1 grid in 2019 but has yet to taste victory.
He came closest at Sochi last season, leading Lewis Hamilton as the race neared its end after claiming pole position.
However, it all went wrong for the McLaren driver when it started to rain. He chose to stay out rather than pit for intermediate tyres, and it proved to be the wrong call.
He lost grip, went off and was overtaken by Hamilton before finally pitting and ultimately finishing down in P7.
With the Brit so young and so talented, he’ll surely get the chance to make amends in the future, but he worries that won’t be the case.
“The one thing I think of is, was that my only shot?” Norris said on the Beyond the Grid podcast.
“And I hate thinking it because I also want to believe, like as a team, we’re going to be winning races in a few years.
“But you never know in Formula 1, which is the issue. You never know where you can be or what can happen.
“So, there’s a couple of times where I’ve thought ‘was that my only shot of winning a Formula One race in my career? Is that what people are going to speak about in 20 years, oh you should have won that race in Russia’.
“That’s the only thing, but I think that very rarely, probably two or three times I’ve thought of that. But the rest of it I still see as a team, two or three years. That’s when our times will come.”
When it started to rain in Russia, Norris’ team told him to pit but he went against their orders and got relatively aggressive on the team radio when he did so.
He says that he actually felt comfortable at the time, but admits that, listening back, it doesn’t come across that way.
Going forward, he says he’ll be more careful about how he speaks to his team during the race as he feels it can have an impact on the decisions they make.
“I know I was stressed, leading the race, Lewis has just caught me up, he’s a lot quicker. It’s raining. Like this is everything that can go wrong kind of going wrong,” he said.
“At the same time, I felt very much in my zone of like, I grew up driving on slicks in the rain. I loved doing that in go-karting. And probably the same for Lewis, you know, those stories.
“So, I felt like that was me, and I felt very comfortable at the same time, as uncomfortable as I was with slicks in the rain, with Lewis behind me for a win, I felt very comfortable with the situation I was in.
“But the way I come across on the radio is so different to how I feel I say it at the time, I feel like I’m just saying it. But then I hear myself on the radio. I’m like, ‘why am I screaming? Like, why? Why am I sounding like a little baby?’
“Yeah, so I just need to be careful, even now with other things, I need to be careful of the way I think I’m saying it differently to how they might portray it, then.
“I’m not saying if we did the same again and I said something in a different way, it will change the outcome, I don’t think that was the issue.
“But definitely, there’s every now and then times, where things that I say or how I say them will get portrayed in a different way and then kick off decisions that the team will make, to box me, not to box me, and so on.”