Spanish Grand Prix – Lando Norris put in a very impressive drive for McLaren, fighting against illness and the Spanish heat to move forward into the points.
After qualifying yesterday Norris admitted that he was most definitely not at his peak, telling RaceFans that: “I’ve been much better. I’ve not been great all weekend, to be honest with you. I’m just suffering with my throat and my eyes and seeing, which doesn’t help. My sleep and energy levels are probably the worst I’ve had in a long time. So definitely not at my peak this weekend.”
Indeed images of Norris before the race showed the McLaren driver looking nauseous and it was reported that he was also suffering from a fever on top of the symptoms he described the day before.
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Following his P11 to P8 drive, the young Brit was brought straight to the McLaren medical team, missing his usual post-race media duties and Team Principal, Andreas Seidl, gave an update about his driver.
“Obviously he was not feeling well all weekend,” Seidl said. “When your energy levels are low with tonsillitis, which he was suffering from, it was a very challenging race and afternoon, especially in these hot temperatures.
“So he was pretty flat towards the end of the race, but thanks to the great medical support here and also within the team that he has around him. We need to make sure he gets some good rest now in the next four days before we then go again in Monaco.”
It was stressed that the decision to let the poorly Norris into the cockpit and compete in the race was made with the medical team’s approval.
“We obviously have a doctor involved in decisions like that and we wouldn’t ever risk the health of Lando. After the doctor gave the green light today and after Lando was clear from his side that he would give it a go, we went for it.”
With Monaco only a few days away, there’s not much time for Norris to be able to recover and while McLaren hope that he will be up to racing next weekend, they do also have options if he’s not – with the two Mercedes reserves, Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries, as well as Paul di Resta and Alpine reserve Oscar Piastri available to them.
“I’m hopeful that Lando will be fit,” Seidl added. “But as you know, we have different options in terms of reserve drivers prepared to pull from in case of an emergency. But again, we’re quite hopeful that Lando will be okay again.”
While Norris didn’t make it to his media commitments, he did give a comment for the McLaren race report in which he called the Spanish Grand Prix “one of the hardest races I’ve ever done”, but was pleased to finish with points after the illness did compromise his weekend preparations.
“Today was tough,” Norris said. “I was feeling really unwell before the race as I’m suffering with tonsillitis, and that, in combination with the high temperatures, made this one of the hardest races I’ve ever done. I’ve been a bit on the backfoot this weekend as most of my energy has been spent fighting off this illness.
“I’ve had to miss a lot of engineering sessions, which has compromised my weekend, and I definitely wasn’t as prepared for the Grand Prix as I could have been. With that in mind, I’m really pleased to have come out of the race with decent points for the team.
“The team have been working really hard to bring performance to the car, so I’m glad we could take something from the weekend. We’ll look at the data over the next few days, see if there’s any additional performance we can extract from the car and make sure we’re ready to go for Monaco.”