Lando Norris believes McLaren had the car performance to beat Max Verstappen to victory at the Qatar Grand Prix, but mistakes earlier in the weekend prevented him challenging for the first win of his Formula One career.
Norris finished third in Qatar behind teammate Oscar Piastri in second, who was 4.8s adrift of race winner Verstappen at the chequered flag.
Piastri won the sprint race in Qatar after securing pole position ahead of Verstappen and holding the Red Bull off over the 19-lap race.
Norris believes he could have won both the sprint and the grand prix if mistakes in qualifying, including track limits violations that led to the deletion of his laps in Q3 and left him 10th on the grid for the grand prix, had been avoided.
“I guess if I want to be honest with myself, I should have fought for two pole positions this weekend and potentially two victories,” he said on Sunday evening after the race.
“I know it’s a big thing to say, but I think if things went well, if I just did a better job and didn’t make the mistakes I did over the last two days, which is why I’ve been so frustrated, because I knew what was on the cards, what we were able to potentially achieve. And that was victories, both yesterday and today.”
Verstappen has won 14 of the 17 races this year and his Red Bull team has only been beaten once when Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz took a surprise victory at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Norris believes the Qatar Grand Prix, which features multiple high-speed corners that are well suited to the strengths of the McLaren, was his chance to challenge the new triple world champion.
“I feel like it was a weekend of missed opportunities for myself to take the fight to Max and at least give ourselves that opportunity. Yeah, so I don’t know. There’s good things and bad things.
“I feel like I’ve missed out and didn’t do what I should have done and achieve what I should have achieved but I’m definitely still happy with a P3. I can’t take anything away from that.
“But in the back of my head, I know I should have done more this weekend.”