Lando Norris was absent from the track for debriefing and interviews after the Barcelona Formula 1 race. The McLaren driver, who finished eighth, had a good reason for that: he was with the team doctor. And after the heated battle in Spain, he was completely physically exhausted.
Norris has been ill since the start of the weekend and the situation has been getting worse. After the race, McLaren confirmed he had tonsillitis and tonsillitis. “As a team, we can’t thank him enough for making his way,” said team boss Andreas Seidl, impressed. “He showed an exciting fighting spirit and got four more points.” Apparently he dealt with his colleague Daniel Ricciardo himself when he was ill.
On Sunday Norris looked completely exhausted even before the race on the grid. He made a short PR statement that evening: “Besides the sweltering temperatures, it was one of the hardest races I’ve ever driven. I was a little late because most of my energy was being used to fight illness I had to miss a lot of engineering sessions that hurt the weekend. And I definitely wasn’t as ready for the Grand Prix as I could have been.”
Norris desperately needs a break after Barcelona
However, Norris started under the supervision of the team doctor. “We will never risk Lando’s health,” Seidl asserts. But McLaren has another problem, which is the Monaco GP next weekend. Seidl cannot offer any guarantees: “First of all, with our medical support and a four-day break, we hope Lando is fit.”
If not, McLaren has a wide range of reserve drivers to choose from. These include a Mercedes pool with Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne, and the Alpine pups Oscar Piastri at the start of the season if needed. “That’s something we’ll decide in no time,” Seidl doesn’t want to say anything about. For now, the team assumes Norris will be fit again by Friday.
Ricciardo descends in Barcelona in the race
For his teammate Daniel Ricciardo, Barcelona were tough even without illness. He even started before Norris, but it evaded for the first few laps and it didn’t get any better. Even worse. “On all the tire sets we’ve ridden, he had a hard time getting the grip,” Seidl explains disappointedly. “We have to understand that – it’s a shame we couldn’t fight for points with both cars.”
Ricciardo himself doesn’t have a plan yet: “It was one of those races that were so slow that you’re really hoping something is going wrong. And we’ll find something. If not, it would be even more worrying. It wasn’t. Two, it felt like a second. I don’t know for sure, but I saw cars pass me and drive away quickly.”
On the other hand, the big upgrade package that McLaren brought to Barcelona is said to have worked well. “We’ve seen good correlation and a step forward,” Seidl says. “I think with more time we can get a better performance, we have to work on that in the next few days.” However, McLaren is no easy feat. Alfa, who also brought in a big deal, looked much stronger at Barcelona. “We are fighting strong opponents for fourth place,” warns Seidl.
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