McLaren’s Lando Norris says he’s “proud” he was able to deliver the fastest lap of the race, on the final lap of the Austrian Grand Prix, to snatch third place and his maiden Formula 1 podium.
Norris started in third after a strong qualifying session but found himself falling back in the race as he struggled to keep the quickest Racing Point of Sergio Perez and the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc behind.
However with a couple of retirements and the lap of his life, he was able to close to within five seconds of Lewis Hamilton – who had to serve a five-second time penalty and therefore dropped behind Norris at the chequered flag.
“I’m just so happy. I was very happy after yesterday, we didn’t overachieve [in qualifying] but we maximised everything we had and we did better than we thought we were going to do,” said Norris after the race.
“We thought Ferrari and Racing Point were strong, we thought they’d be strong today, and they were, but the race highlighted we had to keep pushing.”
Norris says he could so easily have been feeling opposite emotions after initially falling back in the race.
“It’s nice when you have a more competitive car and you can be there or thereabouts, but I’m so happy, would have been very easy to be the opposite [because] I almost got down to 6th after Charles [Leclerc] passed me and was kinda going downhill, all over the place, going wide.
“But I knew there was pace in the car, got my head down, tried to get past Perez, was quite aggressive but I had to be. I only managed to get him [Hamilton] on the final lap of the race – I think it was 5.8s on the final lap and got it down to 4.8s.
“If I didn’t put in the fastest lap of the race – which I’m proud of – I wouldn’t be here. Big thanks to the team, I’m probably rambling, but I’m happy.”
Norris scored 15 points plus the bonus point for fastest lap and sits third in the standings, whilst fifth for team-mate Carlos Sainz means McLaren sits second behind Mercedes.