Lando Norris was happy that he was able to shut fans writing ‘Lando No Wins’ after few missed chances to secure his first F1 win.

McLaren’s Norris do gets flustered by messages he gets. It has been like that since his feeder days. And so when he received messages like ‘Lando No Wins’ under his comment section, the Brit did take it to himself while adding a bit of performance pressure.

He admitted to making mistakes of his own especially in qualifying. But last weekend, things turned around for him. A solid drive coupled with some strategy and luck earned him his long-awaited first F1 win against Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

It broke the 2021 Russian GP ‘curse’ where he lost a potential F1 win in wet conditions. He came close on a couple of occasions more but something alluded him which didn’t last Sunday. And it gave him the chance to answer his critics of social media.

He even addressed the ‘Lando No Wins’ chatter on his radio as he expanded about his mental side post-race which did get to him at stages. He also thanked his peers who reacted to his F1 win with equal pleasure like their own.

Getting past the 2021 F1 miss –

Norris: “Russia ‘21 was a very, very different situation. A lot of people talk crap about Sochi and the things which went on. And yes, I potentially lost out on a victory. I did lose out on a victory. I and we. I never want to drag the team down but I didn’t do the best of jobs and as a team we didn’t. So that happened. And as much as people, yeah, like to continue to use that and say, even after China last weekend when I made a mistake in Turn 1 on Lewis… Yeah, I mean a lot of people doubted that I could go out and win races and perform under the pressure of leading the race, especially with Max behind you and those types of things, but really this year I felt more confident than ever. I wasn’t thinking of these things. Like, probably last year would have thought of it. But this year I’ve been much better with just kind of keeping my mind focused and focusing on my job.

“I’m doing a good job. I’m fast and I’m executing things exactly how I want to do. I’ve improved on a lot of my weaknesses and all that hard work has paid off. So no, I wasn’t thinking of that thing. So I was smiling. And I was thinking like, how am I going to celebrate? What am I going to say? I’m not very good at kind of just coming up with these things and improvising when that situation comes. So I was rehearsing my lines. But when I went over the line, I just turned into something else. I don’t know what it is. It’s just you’re just happy. So my voice hurts a little bit. My throat hurts. Yeah, you just forget about it. You don’t really care what you’re thinking of. You’re just looking at the track. You’re focusing on that. And once you cross the line, then you just let go. Thank you.”

Opportunities missed before –

Norris: “Yep. There was one, one opportunity, and this was Qatar last year. To win the main race was maybe a bit more of an ask. I think Max, I don’t know what Max’s gap to Oscar and I was like five seconds, six seconds, I think. So you can’t go against that and put that ever away. But as a Sprint race, the Sprint race was the loss. I don’t know if there was a main race that I’ve missed out on, to be honest. And that’s obviously the more valuable one, the one that means a lot more to you. So I kind of want to say no. I kind of want to say I don’t think there was a Sunday where I’ve thrown stuff away. I’ve thrown away maybe a podium or a P2, but I think every opportunity where I’ve been there to try and take a win, I’ve been there. There’s a couple of times when I’ve been blocked to those opportunities. One was Singapore last year, and Carlos took it.

“And another one was Australia this year, where the two Ferraris were ahead. Apart from that, there wasn’t a Sunday. And as much as people want to say there was this and that and, yeah, Russia and whatever it was, Qatar, there wasn’t a Sunday. I’ve missed out on a win because of something I’ve done wrong. There were pole positions. There was a Sprint race win. But nothing more than that. And I think that’s why I never lost faith. I never didn’t believe in what I could go out and do. So happy to put that to bed and prove a lot of these people wrong because, yeah. As much as I love to see it and I go on Instagram and I like all the comments of people abusing me, I freaking love it. It makes me smile more than anything, especially Lando No-wins. That’s become the thing. And yeah, for me to finally prove those people wrong and prove to people that didn’t think I could go out and do it, it’s put an even bigger smile on my face today. So I thank all of them.”

Meme culture, respect from other drivers –

Norris: “Yeah. I’ll start with that. I think there’s always one thing I try to keep. And as much as I… Sometimes I think everyone maybe doesn’t talk the best of other people because of certain situations. You’re under pressure. You’re racing people. People crash into you. You get frustrated. And of course, you’re going to say things, things that people don’t like, things that others do. One thing I’ve always had and I will always have is respect for the people I race against, as much as, yeah, sometimes things make you not want to have it. I’ve always had respect for everyone I race against, from the top to the bottom of every category that I’ve gone through since karting, I’ve always had respect for my competitors and the people I raced against. And I’ve always said that. So as much as when you put the helmet on, you hate them, and you want to beat them, and you don’t care who’s who, I’ve always had respect for the people I’ve raced against. So when anyone comes up [to me], especially people who have achieved a lot, because it always means a little bit more.

“So when Lewis, Fernando, Max, Charles, Carlos, whenever they come up to you or people have good words for you, I appreciate those things a lot. Because from these people, it means something. Maybe from others, it doesn’t. And yeah, from these people, they’re the people who know what it takes to achieve these types of things for the work, the time, the effort that goes into doing something like this. So, yeah, I guess thanks to them and thanks to everyone who supports me and has that kind of similar respect that I do for them back. I appreciate those types of things. The other point was my lines. Yeah, so… I mean, you’re always going to have people that don’t support you and people that do. When you’re out there on the podium and I do my in lap, there’s a lot of people out there cheering you on and waving and congratulating. So I thank all of them. Of course, the people I keep closest to me, my team, my engineers, my manager, my trainer, my family, those are the people whose words you always take as something more meaningful.

“And anyone can say what they want. I’m always for that. People don’t need to like me. They don’t need to support me. I’m not always asking for those types of things. But yeah, when people doubt me in certain situations, yeah you want to prove them wrong. You want to go out and prove them wrong. They think they know what they’re talking about and when you prove that they don’t, then that’s a nice thing to go out and do. So, yeah not like a dig at anyone. I wanted to say like the Valtteri line ‘to whom it may concern’, but I was like ‘ that’s copyrighted’, so I didn’t want to repeat it but it’s just nice to just go out there and do my job and show people what I’m capable of.”

Missed chance in Sochi –

Stella: “Let me start by saying what I said before. We were totally convinced that the gap to the victory for Lando, it wasn’t in Lando, it was in the team. We needed to provide him with winning material. And as soon as we did it, he achieved it. So that’s for me a testament to how ready he was, and also if we look at what he delivered in podiums with a car that sometimes wasn’t really a podium finisher on merit, for me Lando is in a very strong journey. And if I think back to the race you mentioned, in Russia, I think that was even having a bit of a turning point for Lando himself and for the team in terms of how we have to operate when the pressure rises and in terms of how we have to collaborate to make good decisions by bringing the unique information you have while you are on track and the unique information you have while you are on the pitwall.

“But if I go back to that race, I think the responsibility is on the pit wall because we didn’t enforce the call to pit enough. The driver on track, he doesn’t see if it’s raining somewhere else, we could see it, so it was our limitation in not forcing Lando to pit. So I think even in that case, I think he was delivering the job but we were not ready in a way as a team to achieve the victory. And achieving victories is never easy, and if we look at what Red Bull have achieved, I never under-evaluate what they have achieved. I always like take my hat off, because they are so many ways in which it can go wrong and for them to be so successful with such a sequence of victories is just amazing. I think we are just started with this kind of journey and hopefully we will have more of these days in the future.”

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