Norris Austin is confident of being in the top three with “one more lap” to go.

Norris Austin is confident of being in the top three with “one more lap” to go.

Lando Norris hopes to continue Austin’s sprint as he pipped Charles Leclerc to third.

Although initially behind Carlos Sainz (the Ferrari driver took advantage of the soft tires early on but eventually enjoyed a short-lived advantage), Norris eventually took the lead and regained his original place of fourth.
The McLaren driver finished the 19-lap meeting in third place.
He was less than a second behind the Monegasques and close to Sainz’s teammate Leclerc.

Despite not making any progress on the field, Norris was still pleased with the speed of his MCL60 and confident that he narrowly missed out on challenger Leclerc.
“It was a good day.” Norris explained.
“The speed was so strong that it was a struggle to overtake Carlos’ Ferrari.
2023 US GP Sprint: Verstappen defends strongly against Leclerc as Hamilton takes second.

“But the speed was a lot better than them and I was about five seconds or four or five laps ahead of Charles.
This bodes well for tomorrow.

“[I] was trying to catch up. One more lap and Charles will be back on the podium.
“Yes, it was a setback, but other than that, it’s a good sign.”

Now that the mid-size tires have proven to be the best option in the sprint, Norris admits there are important lessons to be learned for Sunday’s US Grand Prix, where he could face Britain’s Mercedes.
“I think some questions were answered today. I think there will be more questions tomorrow,” Norris said of understanding the strategic choices for the upcoming race.
“The tire degradation was still significant, but we were able to maintain a somewhat steady pace.
“It’s difficult because after three or four laps you feel like you’ve run out of tires.
It’s hard to take care of everyone.
Don’t be mistaken. I think that’s the hardest thing.
But the speed is good.
I thought he would fight well as Mercedes, but Max [Verstappen.
] will probably pass.

Piastri suspects he “used too many tyres” at the start of the battle as he failed to score in the sprint.

At the other end of the McLaren garage, Oscar Piastri had a difficult run after dropping from 5th to 10th.

The Australian made contact with Sainz at turn one of the first lap and when asked if it affected his race, he said: “I honestly can’t say.
Everything was very good, so I need to check if there is any damage.

“Also, we had a lot of fights with the cars at the beginning.
That’s why I think I have a lot of tires, so I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

On whether he can be competitive in Sunday’s race, the F1 rookie said: “I hope so.
Everyone is very close and very close this weekend as well.
So progress won’t be easy, but we’ll try to see what we can do and learn a lot overnight.”

Norris takes the lead for the Grand Prix with Leclerc second while Piastre starts 10th.

 

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