Lando Norris believes that the storming drive to fifth at the Styrian Grand Prix was one of the best drives of his F1 career so far.
The McLaren driver, who bagged his maiden podium last weekend, managed to gain the vital positions in the closing embers of the race.
“It was very enjoyable, especially those last few laps,” said Norris after the race. “The first stint I didn’t like because we were in a DRS train and us just can’t do anything.
“I went really long, much longer than we thought was going to be possible on the softs. That played into our hands perfectly, going onto the mediums, and I had a lot better pace than everyone else around me. I think it showed how much of a difference being in dirty air versus clean air makes.”
The Briton, on fresher tyres, managed to catch and pass both Racing Point cars of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll, and the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo in the final lap of the race after a much longer stint in the first part of the race.
“I had much better slipstream from Stroll and made the most of that,” said Norris. “I waited until the next half a lap and made the most of my tyre and it worked out perfectly.
“We got a bit lucky, even with Perez into the final corner. This was probably one of the best races of my F1 career so far.”
Norris holds on the third in the drivers’ championship after a brace of strong races at the Red Bull Ring. The 20-year-old is keeping his feet on the ground, however.
“The races were not one of my best points last year – they were one of the things that I worked on throughout the winter into this year,” said Norris after the race.
“To see those improvements and to see how much I’ve improved into this year is helping to give me a lot of confidence. I look forward to the next few races, but I think we have to be ready for an even more difficult and tough weekend.”
“I don’t think it was bad [the pace on the first stint] – I decided to look after my tyres at a very early stage because Carlos [Sainz] was the guy in the lead of the midfield pack.
“He had the clean air and the rest of the guys ahead kind of pulled away, and he was controlled what he was doing. I was just stuck in between second-last in the group – so just struggling in a lot of dirty air no matter what line I tried.
“The only thing I could do was to try to look after my tyres and that’s what I did. I think that was a great decision by me!”
Norris has been suffering with chest pain throughout the weekend which has been managed with therapy and painkillers. The McLaren driver didn’t believe that affected his race.
“I started feeling it a bit towards the last few laps,” said the Briton, “but I think the adrenaline and everything was very overriding from that side of things.
“I feel good, I feel confident – I’ve obviously got a few days to rest and try to prepare for the next one. It’s been a very good two weekends which I’m very happy about.”