Lando Norris played team game to boost Carlos Sainz Jr.'s result
McLaren’s Lando Norris says he drove tactically during Formula 1’s Monaco Grand Prix in order to help team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr.
Norris remained on the fringes of the top 10 throughout while Sainz Jr. started from eighth place and worked his way past Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat on the opening lap.
Third-row starters Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo both pitted during the Safety Car period but McLaren kept its drivers out, with Norris in front of the serviced Magnussen and Ricciardo.
Norris’ pace was such that Sainz Jr. was able to build a gap to ensure he jumped the early pitters while also covering off the attempted undercut by Kvyat.
Norris came home one spot outside of the points while Sainz Jr. captured sixth, in the process consolidating fourth place for McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship.
“The whole race we didn’t have the best pace to be honest,” said Norris.
“I grained the fronts on the first lap of the race just with being behind so many people and being on the harder tyre, not being able to turn it on as well as the top teams, the faster teams.
“At the point we knew where I couldn’t do anything special it was turned more into a team game and I had to try and help Carlos and the team try and get a better result rather than just focusing on my own race.”
When asked by Motorsport Week whether that meant he was used as a rolling roadblock, Norris replied: “Effectively yes. But I still had to look after my race, it wasn’t like they literally sacrificed me.
“I still had to do a good race and still had a chance of the top 10 if anything happened, but overall we didn’t really have the pace to do much better.
“I’m a little bit annoyed that one or two mistakes have cost me maybe one or two points but nothing more. Altogether I think as a team we maximised what we could do.”