McLaren's Lando Norris has hit out at Alpine, claiming the Anglo-French team have done a pretty bad job despite them being fourth in the World Constructors' Championship standings.
Lando Norris has been the lone silver lining for McLaren in what has been an abject season otherwise for Zak Brown and Co. The team had hoped to be the best of the rest behind Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes. The Woking-based outfit, however, has been upstaged by Alpine and is currently trailing them by 24 points as we approach the 2022 F1 Italian GP.
Lando Norris feels this gap between the two teams should have been much bigger considering the superiority of the A522 in comparison to the MCL36.
While speaking to the media in the lead-up to the race at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the Briton said:
“Alpine have been ahead of us pretty much since day one of the season. Genuinely have been ahead of us. There are maybe three or four races this season when we might just have been a bit quicker than them. Otherwise, through the majority, and quite easily the majority, they have had the better car. So for them to only just be ahead of us in the championship is more that we’ve done a very good job and they’ve done a pretty bad job.”
The 24-year-old went on to elaborate on the performance difference between McLaren and Alpine this season, saying:
“When you see the margins of qualifying from them to us sometimes, their pace in the race compared to us sometimes, it’s never that much the opposite way around. They have a better car, they’ve just done a worse job throughout the season and made more mistakes, things like that – had more problems with the car, whatever. Fernando in Australia was on for what, P2 or P3 in qualifying? And we were miles away. So they’ve had a better car pretty much all season.”
Given McLaren's shortcomings, Norris believes his team has performed better than Alpine, as is made evident by the gap between the two sides. He concluded by saying:
“We’ve done a better job with the car we’ve had this year. Now they are just ironing out a few more of their problems and issues and maybe also improved the car a bit more than we have and taken a few more steps.”
Lando Norris believes he can be an F1 GP winner with McLaren in the future
Lando Norris still believes McLaren can win races in the seasons to come and has admitted to curbing his expectations for the immediate future.
After impressing in 2020 and 2021, McLaren appear to have taken a step backward with the advent of the new regulations in F1. Despite their obvious struggles, Norris has been a glimmer of hope for the Woking-based outfit.
Thus far in 2022, the Briton has only failed to score points on four occasions, including his unfortunate retirement at the 2022 F1 Miami GP after being caught by Pierre Gasly.
Lando Norris also has McLaren's only podium and top-three start this season, both coming at the 2022 F1 Imola GP.
As things stand, Norris has a contract that will keep him at Woking until the end of 2025. While the deal comes with a sizeable salary bump to make him a top earner in the sport, some think this move has squandered the Briton's potential with a team that won't be able to deliver the goods for a title challenge.
Meanwhile, Norris is still waiting to claim his first win in F1. The 22-year-old has been close in the past only to be denied under cruel circumstances, most notably in Sochi last year. When asked if he thinks his window to win alongside McLaren has closed during an interview with RaceFans, he said:
“No, no, no, no. I still believe. I didn’t sign up to be with McLaren for this year like ‘this year I’m going to be winning races’ – that was far from my belief. I still knew it would take a good few years – 2024-25 will be the first time when there should be less and less excuses in a way to go ‘why aren’t we in a position we should be in?’.”
Heading into the 2022 F1 Italian GP, Lando Norris is P7 in the World Drivers' Championship standings with 82 points to his name.