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Another special day for Lando but second place in no longer enough

Published On:: 11/06/2024

Winning is the target and when the champagne shower becomes a familiar companion on the race day, second place is no longer enough.

Lando Norris’ second position behind Max Verstappen in the crazy wet-dry Canadian GP brought with it mixed emotions because the Brit has raised the bar, and this is what an elite racer is made for: an incredible hunger for victory.  “We're at a level now where we're not satisfied with second. The target is to win, and we didn't do that", confessed the McLaren Formula 1 driver, after his fifth successive podium. 

As McLaren Team Principal Andrea Stella warned on the eve of the race week, “the Circuit Gilles-Villenueve is a driver and fan favourite, and one that poses a few new challenges when compared to circuits we’ve raced at so far this year. We go into the Canadian Grand Prix more optimistic than last year’s, but with the understanding that we still face a tough battle to be competitive there”.  

The 2024 Canadian Grand Prix proved to be a Montreal classic where the weather reshuffled the cards keeping the show and the fight alive: rain, mixed conditions, safety cars, strategy gambles, mistakes, incidents, and a high retirement list.  


In the end, Max Verstappen won, with a car that was not the fastest on track. On raw performance base, in fact, Lando Norris and McLaren shone and in a way they should have won, as Lando stated. "We should have won the race and we didn't," Norris reflected. "It's frustrating. We had the pace, probably not in the dry at the end. It turned out that it didn't really matter too much, but we should have won- simple as that”. Lesson learned.  

Like in Imola, McLaren had chosen a set-up combination that required to be gentle early in thever stints, but which paid back later and allowed Norris to come from a long way back to pass Verstappen and poleman George Russell in quick succession before taking the race lead and building a solid gap over the other drivers.   

The timing of the Safety Car deployed with Sargent stranded on track, was not fortunate for Lando whose pace in that moment was very strong.  
Hamilton was the first of the leading pack to pit for slick tires, Piastri followed and pitted for new Mediums. Norris stayed on the intermediates for two laps more than Verstappen and Russell and when he did pit for Mediums, he was just pipped to first at the pit exit by Verstappen.  


“It was chaos, an eventful race. To be honest, I felt like I drove a good race, the whole time, from start to finish. The first two stints were very strong. I had an amazing pace. But then the Safety Car had me over. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty perfect race from my side, just a bit unlucky but that's what it is. All in all, it was good fun. These conditions, so stressful inside the car but very enjoyable at the same time”, stated Lando, now third in drivers championship, with McLaren taking the same position in the contructors championship standings.  

What the safety car gifted them in Miami took away from them in Canada. “In the first stint I was in the lead by 10 or 12 seconds, pulling away, probably two three seconds a lap, so things were going beautifully. I am not going to complain about the Safety Car. It helped me out in Miami. So it happens: that's racing. I drove a good race. The car's been great all weekend. It's nice to be so close once again and on the podium. So we'll keep fighting”. explained Lando.   

Analyzing the race, he added honestly, “what hurt me more was not staying out on the Intermediate, because it helped me to have a chance against George, so I overcut him. I didn't do a good enough job afterwards, and he was clearly quicker than us in the dry and even on the Hard tires. So, that was completely the right call and a good decision from us to stay out. It gave me a lot of lap time, it's not the timing of the first Safety Car, I had enough time to box and we didn't box. So this was a mistake on us as a team.  I don't think it was a luck or unluck. This was just making a wrong call. So, it's on me and it's on the team and it's something to discuss”. 


McLaren leaves Canada stronger. Lando’s second place together with Piastri’s P5 in what was a chaotic race gave the team good points to continue to progress in the Constructors’ Championship and the team can be optimistic heading into triple header  
“I look forward to Barcelona and every track because we seem to be performing well in every place. In Canada we saw a strong Mercedes; they've been the quickest all weekend. We finished ahead of them, which is good, but if they're quicker in the next few races too and they've kind of joined the fight of Ferrari, Red Bull, and us, then it's only going to make our life more exciting for us and probably for everyone watching”, confessed Lando Norris, ready for another challenge.