Lando Norris says he held back from challenging Daniel Ricciardo at Monza, fearing a fight with his McLaren teammate would end up in the gravel trap like Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.
Norris completed McLaren’s triumphant display in the Italian Grand Prix by finishing second behind Ricciardo, a position he boldly seized from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the race’s restart at the end of the caution period triggered by the run-in at the first chicane between Verstappen and Hamilton.
With Formula 1’s two title protagonists out of the way, the race was virtually McLaren’s to lose, which was precisely why Norris refrained from attacking his leading teammate.
“I got a bit closer on one lap and I just kinda… I don’t know why… I had a few flashes seeing the incident between Max and Lewis,” explained the Brition.
“I saw it quite well in my mirrors, so when I thought maybe I’ll try, that was flashing up in my head and I thought ‘naaah, maybe this isn’t the wisest decision’!
“So, I would have loved to [challenge for the win] but I’m just as happy in a way, like as much as I would have loved to go for the win, just finishing first and second, I’m just as happy with.”
Starting fourth, Hamilton failed to outrun any of his rivals on the run down to the first corner, the Mercedes driver election to hold his own and slot himself in behind Norris.
However, just like in Saturday’s sprint event, the seven-time world champion didn’t have the straight-line speed to overhaul his McLaren rival.
But Norris admitted to a stressful afternoon at the Temple of Speed, with no moment to “chill out”.
Read also – McLaren’s chiefs: ‘We still have a lot of work to do’
“I think I had a good warm-up [on Saturday] with 18 laps trying to defend from him,” commented Norris.
“I could figure him out quite quickly, where he was going to be strong and weak and so on.
“And he was on the hard tyre, so for the majority of it, I could hold him off reasonably easily but the last two or three laps of the stint, the hard tyre started to come back to him quite a bit.
“The whole race was stressful, not going to lie. There was not one moment where I thought I could relax and just chill-out a little bit.”
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