McLaren’s Lando Norris has revealed how tonsillitis affected him during the Spanish Grand Prix after he battled through to finish eighth.
Norris went to the circuit on Sunday feeling unwell, and was even unable to speak to his race engineer Will Joseph while in the car, so had to press buttons on the wheel to communicate.
Having qualified 11th on Saturday after his Q2 lap was deleted though, the Briton came through and achieved a magnificent eighth-placed finish, defying his intense discomfort to score points for the team.
He was excused of his media duties after the race, and headed back to his motorhome to be see to by team doctors. He revealed that he had been “suffering with my throat and my eyes and seeing.”
In the team review, the 22-year-old said the illness, coupled with the extreme heat and managing extensive tyre degradation, made for a mightily difficult afternoon.
“Today was tough, I was feeling really unwell before the race as I’m suffering with tonsillitis, and that, in combination with the high temperatures, made this one of the hardest races I’ve ever done,” said Norris.
“I’ve been a bit on the backfoot this weekend as most of my energy has been spent fighting off this illness.
“I’ve had to miss a lot of engineering sessions, which has compromised my weekend, and I definitely wasn’t as prepared for the Grand Prix as I could have been. With that in mind, I’m really pleased to have come out of the race with decent points for the team.”
Team principal Andreas Seidl thanked the medical staff for keeping his young driver safe, and assured that he would not have let Norris race if he believed he would be at risk.
“We obviously have a doctor involved in decisions like that and we wouldn’t ever risk the health of Lando,” he said.
“After the doctor gave the green light today and after Lando was clear from his side that he would give it a go, we went for it.
“Obviously he was not feeling well all weekend. When your energy levels are low with tonsillitis – which he was suffering from – it was a very challenging race and afternoon. Especially in these hot temperatures as well.
“So he was pretty flat towards the end of the race and after the race, but thanks to the great medical support here and also within the team that he has around him.”
As for the Monaco Grand Prix this weekend, the German anticipates that the six-time podium finisher will be fine.
“The objective is clear now for the next phase. We need to make sure he gets some good rest now in the next four days before we then go again in Monaco,” explained Seidl.
“I think with the medical support we have as well and with having the possibility now to rest for four days, I’m hopeful that Lando will be fit.
“But as you know, we have different options in terms of reserve drivers prepared to pull from in case of an emergency. But again, we’re quite hopeful that Lando will be okay again.”
Norris’ team-mate Daniel Ricciardo had contrasting fortunes, finishing the race down in P12 having started ninth, and his performances have now prompted pressure from CEO Zak Brown, who said he “would like to see Daniel much closer to Lando.”