Lando Norris says that the McLaren Formula 1 team received “a lot of abuse” following its poor start to the 2023 campaign.
Prior to the start of the season, the Woking-based squad admitted it had missed performance targets with the MCL60 challenger.
In the opening rounds, it struggled for form and was one of the slowest cars on the grid.
However, recent car developments have propelled the team forward, with Norris taking back-to-back podiums at Silverstone and the Hungaroing.
When asked what was been its recent surge, Norris said: “Just the obvious answer – a lot of hard work.
“Great teamwork. Everyone back in the factory did an amazing job. I think we knew it in the beginning: we were going to struggle and we looked pretty poor.
“We got a lot of abuse for McLaren, saying we weren’t doing a good-enough job. I’m happy we finally proved some people wrong.”
Norris: Hamilton lap one overtake ‘saved our race’
Norris started the race from third on the grid, but found himself in danger of dropping to fourth on the opening lap.
Team-mate Oscar Piastri clinched second place at the first corner, while Max Verstappen seized the lead by overtaking pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.
Norris successfully overtook Hamilton around the outside of Turn 2, which he claims was crucial to the final outcome of his race.
“I guess I had a decent start. I kind of went with Max and Lewis and I couldn’t go to the right, I had a big slipstream, so I came pretty much halfway alongside Lewis,” Norris said.
“It was tough to know what to do. If I brake early, then it’s easy for the people to go up the inside of me.
“Obviously Oscar got through, which was great. And Lewis stayed ahead, which was frustrating, but then I managed to stay on the outside.
Reflecting on the overtake, Norris said: “I was a bit surprised, because I would have thought he’d run me a bit wider but he didn’t.
“So it was close. I’m sure he was still trying but it’s very easy to lock up into Turn 2, so even going into the corner I went back of a couple clicks on brake balance just to attack a little bit more.
“And it worked out. So I think that saved our race today. If I didn’t get past Lewis there, I don’t think I would have overtaken him today because their race pace was very strong.
“Their general pace was very strong. I just think they didn’t execute a very good race and that overtake made me get a podium.”