After applying the many penalties for the Italian grid, Norris started third, but his attempt to run in clear air was derailed by a very poor start due to an incorrect set-up beyond his control.
Norris then got stuck in the DRS train behind teammate Daniel Ricciardo and decided to postpone his first stop to squeeze the medium tyres. That seemed to work perfectly and put him back ahead of the pack of cars, until a slow pit stop when he was going to put on soft tires got him back into traffic.
The Safety Car at the end prevented the Briton from taking full advantage of his soft tires and he had to confirm with being seventh.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he thought he had done a good job recovering from his setbacks, Norris said: “It was probably one of my best races in Formula 1.
“I just went very very very long in the first stint, I think I came in like on lap 35 or 36,” explained the McLaren F1 driver. “I would say it was probably one of my best races in Formula 1 in terms of management and patience.
“Without a doubt it was my best race of the year. In Formula 1 a seventh position does not correspond much to what I feel I have done this Sunday, but that is life. These are things that happen and we will learn from it and move on” .
Norris reckoned that without the slow stop he would have had a chance to hold off Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez, who rallied from the back of the grid to fifth and sixth.
“I probably should have finished fifth, so I’m a bit disappointed,” he added. “It was an extremely bad start due to a wrong set-up, but nothing really that I could have done differently. And then a bad pit stop, which probably cost us position with Lewis.
“Very possibly then I would have gotten ahead after a few laps, or not, but at least we would have had a chance to race and beat him. And maybe he could have held out in front until the safety car. So yeah, fifth was where we should be.” have been, but we finished seventh”.
The team warned Lando Norris that a tough start awaited him, but said he didn’t get a chance to change any settings in time.
“It was just the settings for the boot that you have to have and that you can’t adjust once the one minute signal passes. There you can’t change it anymore, so I couldn’t have done anything,” he explained.
“They told me and I was just expecting the worst. Of course, when the lights go out, you have to react and you feel like you have to get going. That’s something that has never happened to me and probably will never happen again. Hopefully. wood!”.
Adding to Norris’s problems, Ricciardo’s retirement after his engine died meant that McLaren had a much better race in its battle for fourth place in the constructors’ championship with Alpine.
But despite scoring fewer points than expected, team principal Andreas Seidl said the car’s pace at the Italian GP was encouraging, especially after being in no man’s land at the equally high-speed Spa .
“I agree that it was a very strong race from both drivers,” he said. “Unfortunately, on Lando’s side, we had too many problems that prevented us from getting an even better result because I guess with a clean race, it might have been possible to get a fifth place.”
“Even after losing position to Fernando [Alonso] in the virtual safety car restart, we were actually in a position to overtake him back on track, which was encouraging to see.”
“We were expecting a lot more problems in terms of pace with our car this weekend, so that was very encouraging.”