Lando Norris Says Fernando Alonso Was 'Chilling All Race' At French GP
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Lando Norris is concerned about Fernando Alonso and Alpine’s pace, as the Briton admits the fight for 4th in the Constructors standings will be difficult with the French squad’s performance.
The McLaren driver secured a respectable P7 finish at the French GP, limiting the damage done by Alpine, who jumped the papaya Squad in the standings after a strong showing at the Paul Ricard circuit.
Norris admitted post-race that he was unsurprised by Alpine’s performance, and that he felt Alonso was able to drive far more conservatively than himself:
“Some of those improvements in balance that I seemed to have for yesterday [in qualifying], I lost today and went away from me, and I just didn’t have the same confidence in the car."
"Good work by the team; we’d have been a lot slower if we didn’t have them [the upgrades].
“I was trying to keep up with Fernando for the whole race, and pushing like hell the whole time. I was trying to save the tyres and push and save and push, whereas I felt like Fernando was chilling the whole race.”
Alpine are just two points ahead of McLaren, so the battle between the two teams is far from over.
With that said, Norris is aware that Alpine’s development has been very impressive this season, and the French squad’s A522 machine has consistently been capable of top 6 finishes this year.
McLaren’s saving grace has been Alpine’s poor reliability and operational issues, which have allowed the Woking-based team to stay in 4th position for a significant part of the season.
Still, it has seemed inevitable that Alpine would bridge the gap, and when the underrated duo of Alonso and Esteban Ocon have trouble-free weekends, McLaren are largely at their mercy.
Norris’ tremendous consistency will not be enough for McLaren to maintain their position, so the 22-year-old will hope the team can extract more performance from the MCL36 moving forward.