Lando Norris reckoned his Styrian Grand Prix display was stronger than his podium-winning performance from the previous week, as he continued his fine start to 2020.
Norris claimed his maiden Formula 1 podium at the season-opening event and followed it up with fifth at the same venue.
But Norris struggled physically throughout the Styrian GP weekend amid suspected back pain and started ninth after a grid penalty for an FP1 red flag transgression.
Norris was only on the fringes of the top 10 during the early stages but surged to fifth during the closing laps, passing McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo and Racing Point’s Lance Stroll.
He then moved past Sergio Perez at the penultimate corner of the 71-lap race as the Mexican stuttered to the finish line with front-wing damage.
“It was a tough race,” said Norris. “The first [stint] we weren’t so good. We were just in a DRS train and it was very difficult to do anything.
“I was always like I felt in the wrong place, and using too much of my tyres. A few laps in I decided that nothing was going to change, and I decided to go for very long stint on the Softs, which was like to lap 45 or something. It was not what we were expecting at all.
“But the Medium on the second stint was really good. I had really good pace from the very beginning. And got three positions in the last three laps. Probably my best Formula 1 race that I have done.”
Norris also conceded that McLaren had “no chance” against Racing Point on pure pace alone and felt fortunate to finish in front of both RP20s.
“You saw how quick the Racing Points were, especially Sergio.
“When you have a guy in the car that extracts all the time out of it, you can see how quick they were, so in pace we had no chance against them.
“We have no chance against Red bull or Mercedes, so on paper seventh and eighth is the best we could have done.”